Charlotte Hornets

Hornets’ Michael Kidd-Gilchrist made big strides

Michael Kidd-Gilchrist

Position: Small forward

Contract status: Kidd-Gilchrist will make about $6.3 million next season under his rookie-scale contract.

Seasons in the NBA: Three

Telling statistic: Kidd-Gilchrist shot 50 percent on attempts between 10 and 16 feet from the basket this season. Last season he shot 15 percent from that range. Hornets assistant Mark Price did great work with Kidd-Gilchrist’s jump shot before leaving to become head coach of the Charlotte 49ers.

Season review: The Hornets were 6-20 this season when Kidd-Gilchrist was unavailable to play. Clifford said that’s no coincidence. Kidd-Gilchrist is the Hornets’ best and most versatile defender. He plays with an energy the Hornets struggled to replace when he was injured.

Clifford can assign him to guard small forwards, point guards and shooting guards. For instance, he often guarded All-Star point guard Russell Westbrook in the two games against the Oklahoma City Thunder.

Kidd-Gilchrist was a liability offensively in his first two NBA seasons because his jump shot was so flawed. Price spent the summer rebuilding that shot and Kidd-Gilchrist was dramatically more confident this season as a result of that improvement. It took a while for Kidd-Gilchrist to play like a guy drafted second overall, but he’s now one of the Hornets’ better young assets.