Truehoop Mock Draft: Pick No 4, Michael Kidd-Gilchrist

Across the Truehoop Network we are, as we do every year, staging a mock draft. To catch you up: Anthony Davis is headed to New Orleans, T-Rob went to the Bobcats at no. 2, and the Wiz selected Bradley Beal. Which allows the Cleveland Cavaliers to select…

Michael Kidd-Gilchrist, Small Forward, Kentucky

This is it. The Wiz take Brad Beal (*pours out a 40 oz*), and Chris Grant hands his intern an index card and tells him to “[expletive]-ing run!” to David Stern’s side. The index card reads: “Michael Kidd-Gilchrist, Gentleman Sidekick.” This is a perfect fit for the Cavs, who upgrade from a small forward platoon of Alonzo Gee and Omri Casspi to a breathtaking athlete who, if he wasn’t a basketball player, would have hobbies like liberating small island nations from tyranny and demolishing buildings with his will. He instantly becomes the second- or third-best Cavalier.

You know how some people have a charisma that seems to vibrate the room as they enter it? MKG’s work ethic is something like that. The top half of this lottery is packed with likable gym rats (and Andre Drummond), but scouts and experts have labored to point out that Kidd-Gilchrist stands apart from his peers in terms of competitiveness. I don’t doubt he will struggle, like all rookies do, to adapt his game to the NBA, but he will not have to learn how to be a professional. From the moment he steps into the Cavaliers training facility, he will belong.

When Tristan Thompson and Kyrie Irving were introduced to the Cleveland media shortly after the Players Association and the NBA put the final touches on a new CBA, Chris Grant described them as “two high quality humans… [that] just happen to be really good basketball players.” There’s a whit of disingenuousness in that statement; obviously Grant would have said nice things about TT and Irving even if they were miscreants, but this front office has consciously and deliberately prioritized character. They are mindful that building a team (almost from scratch, really) means also building a culture that determines how the team is going to operate and grow. Michael Kidd-Gilchrist would be a phenomenal addition to the group of industrious young players the Cavs have assembled over the past couple of years. The sheer voracity of his game is bound to rub off on his teammates.

In terms of the more tangible aspects of his game, MKG is a 6’7″, 235-pound wing who can guard three (or four, depending who you ask) positions. He will afford the Cavs some flexibility on defense because he can slide over and guard the other team’s best perimeter scorer, a luxury the team hasn’t had since LeBron left, and even then, LBJ usually wouldn’t check the other team’s best player all game because he also needed to shoulder the scoring load. MKG is a very good rebounder for his size, and has the strength to finish at the rim after he pulls down offensive boards. He’s mostly a slasher at this point in his development. He’s very quick and a good leaper. He reminds many scouts of Andre Iguodala, which sounds about right. In a perfect world, he will develop into a better shooter than Iggy and his ball handling needs work, but he doesn’t turn 19 until September, so he has plenty of time to grow his game.

I think he’s the best fit for the Cavs not named Anthony Davis, and I would love to have him. There’s a good chance Chris Grant agrees with me, but the Cavaliers have thrown up a lot of smokescreens as far as who they’re selecting with the fourth pick. According to Chad Ford, if both MKG and Harrison Barnes are available, it’s anyone’s guess who they’ll select. (Again, if they take Barnes with MKG still on the board, I will punch a hole in this blog.) Also, if Beal and Kidd-Gilchrist are out of the picture by the fourth pick, and Andre Drummond might be in play. There’s also a chance there will be a rupture in the space-time continuum, and from that rupture will saunter forth Morgwroth, Ravager of Worlds. In that scenario, I see the Cavs trading down.

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Matt
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Matt
6 years 4 months ago

Ya, I don’t want barnes either for the same reason. Beal however, I like. At 4 I would definitely take Robinson over Barnes, if MKG and Beal were gone.

Tom Pestak
Admin
6 years 4 months ago
Matt – My long winded point #3 was a bad argument the way I framed it. I realized it right after I clicked submit. However, my greater point is that guys that have elite traits and cannot be counted on to hit outside jumpers can still be elite players. A better argument would have been – guys with outlier traits can be stars or at least very good NBA players without possessing great offensive mechanics. See; Rondo, Noah, Shawn Marion, Andre Miller. As for number 5, I am defining volume shooting in an extremely unfair, and unscientific way. Most folks would say volume shooters are guys that have high FGA. I am basically defining it in my head like this: “guys that settle for jumpers (lots of jumpers) because they can get them off and aren’t particularly adept at creating high percentage looks but capable of converting contested bad percentage shots better than most.” I guess you could say Russell Westbrook fits that mold, but he goes to the rim so hard so often (and in light of his finals play) it’s hard for me to knock Russell. I am talking more about the guys that can drop 40 because… Read more »
Matt
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Matt
6 years 4 months ago

In summary, I like beal a hair more than MKG, but certainly not enough of a discrepancy to justify giving away the 24th pick or worry if we pass one up for the other.

I still might not sweat it too much if we trade up to 2 though. There is no guarantee MKG isn’t #2 on charlotte’s board, in which case we’d likely be left with Robinson, Drummond and Barnes. The difference between beal and those 3, (Robinson just because of position, though out of the three I’d still take him) might justify the 24th being sacrificed.

Matt
Guest
Matt
6 years 4 months ago
Tom, #1 For beal, it gets overlooked because he has great form, was great in high school, and hit 45% through the last month in college, he just started off really slowly for whatever reason. I don’t think he’s a lock to be historically great, but he should be pretty good from 3. Where as MKG was never any good, and looks atrocious when shooting in game situations. (seriously, who pulls the trigger on the way down?) #2 Great point. Makes me like MKG even more #3 Only one of those guys is a forward, which MKG most certainly is. And that happens to be who he gets compared to most and someone probably not worthy of the #2 pick in a loaded draft. I think MKG will be better than Igoudala though, so thats why I like him near the top, But not a great argument overall. #4 Yep, I agree we can find a 2 that can shoot 3’s fairly easily, if that’s all we want him to do. #5 the mid range pull up is an absolute staple of Russells game, and he’s in the top 5 or 10 in the league at doing it. I’d consider… Read more »
Tom Pestak
Admin
6 years 4 months ago
I take Hollinger’s draft rater with a grain of salt, but his highly rated wings almost always turn out to be quality NBA starters/all stars. And his draft rater has MKG ranked very highly. It does NOT have Beal or Barnes ranked highly at all – as it thinks Dion Waiters will give superior NBA production. Without rehashing all the points that have been made, here are a few that I haven’t seen. 1.) It is assumed that Beal will shoot the lights out – you don’t get compared to Ray Allen unless you are a top 5 shooter in the league. His shooting percentages were very average in college. Should we all just ASSUME he really is a historically great shooter? Why do we look at MKG’s inability to hit jumpers and say – oh it’s a flaw in his game, but when Beal misses them it’s because of the “funky” system he was playing in, or some other explanation. 2.) Guys like Andre Iguodala are exposed when they have to be “the guy” on offense. The one you throw the ball to when the shot clock is winding down and the offense is dead. The one you throw… Read more »
AlexS
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AlexS
6 years 4 months ago
Like I said in another thread, the NBA is a star-driven league and you need to get the BPA, not draft for need. If Grant thinks MKG is the 2nd best prospect, take him. If he thinks Beal is the best prospect, trade up and get him. Having two stars on a team makes you an immediate threat. We shouldn’t plan to win matchups against teams like the Heat. Remember what happened when we built ourselves to beat Orlando? If we become the best possible team, we’re not rolling the dice to end up with a favorable playoff matchup every year. As long as we have a real threat next to Kyrie it will cause problems for the opponent, no matter what position they play. It sounds like Charlotte might be willing to settle for one or both of the second rounders, leaving us #24. Either way, Grant needs to get the BPA. The chance to get JJ Redick, Brendan Haywood, Austin Daye, or others of that skill level shouldn’t stand in the way of getting the player Grant thinks is the best. If it’s MKG, great, we don’t have to do anything! If it’s Beal, we shouldn’t be scared… Read more »
Nate Smith
Admin
6 years 4 months ago

All three players have holes. Let’s not forget the other big weakness of MKG: He can’t drive right. 0-10 last year in isolations. So basically you’re drafting a flip flopped version of Alonzo Gee, who can’t drive left. I like MKG’s intangibles, but he has some big weaknesses. That being said, I think MKG has more of a winning/never quit attitude than any of the other prospects available, and for that reason, he’d be my choice.

Ben Werth
Editor
6 years 4 months ago
It’s all quite simple, folks. No one is winning the East without going through LeBron. MKG looks like he can be one of the very few people on on the planet who is both large enough and quick enough to check Bron. We need an Artest like wing to have a tiny shot at beating a LeBron team. And after, we would also need him against Durant. Yes we won’t be there for a few years, but those guys aren’t going anywhere, and people like MKG don’t come along often. @Trill I would absolutely take Iggy over Gordon and Granger. Which guy has won the most? It’s not a coincidence that even the bad Sixer teams were competitive with Iggy. Now that he has some other scorers, he is flourishing in his point forward type position while being an absolute terror on D. MKG won’t need to handle as much, but could play a great wing and slide to the 4 when going small against certain teams. Also, everyone needs to stop pretending Andy can’t play offense. He has one of the best offensive ratings in the history of the franchise. He is incredible in the pick and roll and… Read more »
Hot Sauce
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Hot Sauce
6 years 4 months ago

I think Beal is the best of the three for the Cavs – can score, is tough, rebounds well for his size. However, I am very hesitant to give up the 24th pick to get him. This draft is so deep. 24 will net us a very good player. I think MKG/Barnes + 24 is better than Beal. If there is a way to get Beal by giving up the two 2nd rounders, that would be ideal. It seems like, if Charlotte takes Robinson, maybe we can trade #4 and our two 2nd rounders to the Wiz to get Beal. But who knows.

Matt
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Matt
6 years 4 months ago
MKG can score, he just can’t jump shoot. Scoring 12 ppg extremely efficiently for a loaded team isn’t world beating, but it shows he can get it done and his teamates trusted him to. The man has a great feel around the rim and is a great slasher who will benefit magnificently from Kyrie’s dribble drive. Will he be the 20+ppg scorer we want? Not unless he develops his jump shot (if he does that, which his age and free throw percentage indicate is a realistic possibility, he’s probably one of the top 15 players in the league if the rest of his game develops as expected). Still, I’ll take a very efficient 15 and 8 hustle guy with great defense and leadership over the inefficient 22ppg Barnes will score with probably 10% worse true shooting while bringing little else to the table. Sign a 3 point shooter in free agency, or another later draft pick, its one of the easier things to fill out. (just ask miami). I’d still probably take beal first, because he looks to be a very efficient 20+ppg scorer and a good rebounder who’s solid on defense, but the difference is negligable enough that I’ll… Read more »
Cullen
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Cullen
6 years 4 months ago

“Again, if they take Barnes with MKG still on the board, I will punch a hole in this blog.”

That made me laugh–get this–out loud.

Trill
Guest
Trill
6 years 4 months ago

AlexS

So, if all turns out as anticipated for these players we can have Eric Gordon, Iguodala or Granger? The last player I would want on this list is Iggy, yet MKG is this blogs favorite prospect. Gordon and Granger seem to be ideal for a team whose point guard right now also has to be the leading scorer.

Roosevelt says:
June 26, 2012 at 3:42 pm
So MKG will be a hustle/defense guy who can’t score, Andy will be a hustle defense guy who can’t score, and TT will be a hustle defense guy who can’t score. Can Irving average 45 a game?

AlexS
Guest
AlexS
6 years 4 months ago

I found this Grantland piece really informative especially since it’s about the 3 players the Cavs are considering:

http://www.grantland.com/blog/the-triangle/post/_/id/30649/2012-nba-draft-evaluating-the-wings

Carson
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Carson
6 years 4 months ago

I will be very, VERY disappointed if MKG is on the board and the Cavs pass on him. People are worried about having three hustle/defense guys in Varejao, TT, and MKG… Kyrie wouldn’t have to put up 45 a game when that Cavs D is holding teams to 80 points every night. Exaggeration, but having a perennial Defensive Player of the Year candidate in Varejao and a guy whose ceiling has been described along the likes of Scottie Pippen in MKG? Me like. Defense will always be more important in this league than offense (just ask the Golden State Warriors).

I really hope all this trading up and down and left and right, with Beal and Barnes and Drummond talks are all smokescreens.

JAG
Guest
JAG
6 years 4 months ago

Interesting point on the MKG vs Barnes shooting front…MKG had a better FT percentage. Just how natural of a shooter is Barnes if he isn’t all that on the free ones. I really am sold on the positive effects of MKG’s attitude on the team he ends up playing for…hopefully the Cavs. I also really like Beal but I’m not sure I would give up the farm to move up. He must’ve destroyed Barnes in that one on one workout, if the Cavs trade up to draft him.

Kyle
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Kyle
6 years 4 months ago
Who said MKG can’t score? Needs work on his jump shot but he’s not a terrible scorer. Had little usage on a loaded Kentucky team. Watching him run the break with Kyrie will be nice to watch, and he’s good at getting to the line. I don’t think the Cavs should jump to 2 it it involves 24. If they can do it with the second rounders I like it better. Staying at 4, either Beal or MKG will drop to us, and barnes will probably still be on the table. None of these guys are bad options. They add to them team in different ways. Barnes opens up the floor with his shooting. MKG is a do it all guy, who with an improved jump shot could be the gem of this draft, and Beal just as a pure scorer that gives us a foundation for an incredible back court for the next decade. I don’t know if any guy is necessarily worth giving up 24 for. And if we stay at 4, we could package the second rounders with 24 to jump Boston and pick up one of the high-risk high reward guys that seems to be falling… Read more »
Chris
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Chris
6 years 4 months ago

I personally will just wait and see what happens. It seems the Cavs will be happy with who they get regardless or what they do for that matter. How many mock drafts have there been? It seems these guys cant make up there mind sok why would i let them do that for me? Whoever the Cavs get il be excited none the less, just maybe more or less depending on my personal picks(wants).

Kevin Hetrick
Guest
6 years 4 months ago

Or three years…he’ll be fine.

Kevin Hetrick
Guest
6 years 4 months ago

Roosevelt,
MKG turns 19 in September. Give him 5 years.

Roosevelt
Guest
Roosevelt
6 years 4 months ago

So MKG will be a hustle/defense guy who can’t score, Andy will be a hustle defense guy who can’t score, and TT will be a hustle defense guy who can’t score. Can Irving average 45 a game?

chamois
Guest
chamois
6 years 4 months ago

I love this time of year. I think the Beal talk is a smoke screen but can’t get enough.

Cory Hughey
Editor
6 years 4 months ago

I don’t think the Bobcats have a lot of leverage in a trade with the Cavs. If they really do want Barnes or Robinson they have to probably trade with a top 6 team to still get their man. It appears the Cavs are okay with Beal, MKG, or Barnes. If Grant wants Beal, he’ll get him. Gilbert has given him the freedom to be the most aggressive GM in the league. How many other owners would have taken on Baron Davis’ contract for the 8th best lottery odds?

Warren
Guest
Warren
6 years 4 months ago

I don’t know what to think of the trade of 4/24/34 for 2nd pick for Beal. That seems like an awful lot. Charlotte smells of desperation and greed for wanting all of that. It just seems like they would be gaining a lot more out of the deal then the Cavs would. I read up on this stuff every day and am really looking forward to the draft to see what actually happens. I am a little more sold on Barnes than Beal. Barnes and Beal are both NBA ready, but Barnes has that height and reach that can’t be passed up on. Though I would hate to pass on Beal if he turns out to be an Eric Gordon or Ray Allen. Guess that is why someone else makes the decision other than me.

I don’t think the Cavs need a project like MKG right now. By keeping the 24th pick there is a chance at getting another decent player or project, but they aren’t in the position to take a project at 4.

What do you guys think?

Nate Smith
Admin
6 years 4 months ago

I hear Morgwroth has a very big wing span, and that his post game is a lot more refined than people think. He’s really hard to root out of the post, and can really intimidate opposing players.

Slim
Guest
Slim
6 years 4 months ago

Really seems like Cavs are in the bag for Beal. Trading with Bobcats seems very likely and their new coach even said it was a good idea.

Chris UK
Guest
Chris UK
6 years 4 months ago

This would make me happy.

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