When the Charlotte Bobcats took Michael Kidd-Gilchrist and Jeff Taylor in the 2012 draft, it was a given that they’d just selected two solid defenders.
Both players were (and still are) offensively challenged, albeit in different ways.
Kidd-Gilchrist’s jump shot leaves much to be desired, and Taylor’s decision making process isn’t quite there yet.
Still, how far along have they come since day one in the NBA?
MKG started his rookie year off on hot, scoring over 10 points and grabbing over six boards per game in November and December. Those numbers have dropped off, but so have his minutes.
The good news is he’s still the stat-stuffer he was at the beginning of the year. To go along with his nine points and 5.6 rebounds per game, Kidd-Gilchrist is also averaging 1.6 assists, a block and 0.8 steals. He’s also got a true shooting percent over 50, and his overall field goal percentage for March is 50. For the most part, he’s learning to pick his spots.
Per 36 minutes MKG averages 7.8 boards, 12 points, 2.2 assists, 1.1 steals and 1.4 blocks. If Mike Dunlap would just give him the minutes he was getting a the start of the season, Kidd-Gilchrist would finish the back over 10 points and close to six boards per game.
Jeff Taylor started the year on the bench, took over a huge role as the starting shooting guard when Gerald Henderson went down, and is now a solid part of the ‘Cats rotation.
His totals of 6.3 points and 1.9 rebounds per game aren’t terrible for a rookie, and his per 36 minutes numbers aren’t bad either: 11.1 points, 3.3 rebounds and 1.5 assists.
Taylor’s minutes have dropped recently, but that’s not a surprise with Dunlap’s propensity to cut even the second pick of the draft’s minutes whenever he feels like it.
On the whole, given the situation the two players were drafted into, you could ask for more out of them, but shouldn’t expect it.
Despite what the advanced statistics say (more on this later, check back with us), both are good defenders, and that’s, basically, what they were drafted to do. The scoring will come (definitely for Taylor as he gets more comfortable with the NBA three-point line), and there are better days ahead of these two solid rookies.