Portland Trail Blazers guard Damian Lillard has unanimously been named the NBA’s Rookie of the Year for 2013. Lillard, the sixth overall pick from Weber State became just the fourth rookie in league history to win the award unanimously.
Charlotte Bobcats forward Michael Kidd-Gilchrist finished eighth in league voting. He received three third-place votes. Kidd-Gilchrist, who was selected second overall out of Kentucky, started 77 games for the Bobcats this season.
He averaged 9.0 points, 5.8 rebounds and shot 45.8% in 26 minutes per game. He finished with a player efficiency rating of 14.
Kidd-Gilchrist’s former Kentucky teammate Anthony Davis finished second in voting for the New Orleans Pelicans. Washington Wizards guard Bradley Beal, Detroit Pistons center Andre Drummond and Cleveland Cavaliers guard Dion Waiters rounded out the top 5.
Kidd-Gilchrist started the season hot in November and December. In December, he averaged 10.9 points, 6.1 rebounds, 2.1 assists and shot a scorching 56.2% from the field. He went through a big dry spell after that before picking it up towards the end of the season.
Despite running into the rookie wall, Kidd-Gilchrist’s season showed some good flashes of brilliance. His defensive instincts are as good as advertised, he can guard multiple positions and he’s an above-average rebounder for his position.
The biggest thing he’ll have to work on is improving his jumpshot, as well as the mechanics. Despite the hitch in his shot, he shot 75% from the free throw line. However, he shot just 29.4% on jumpers this season. If he can work on his shot enough to keep the defense honest and consistently be in attack mode at the basket, he can be a useful player offensively.