School: Kentucky | Year: Freshman | Age: 18 | Born: September 26, 1993 | Position: SG/SF
Height: 6’7” | Weight: 232 | From: Somerdale, NJ | Best Case Scenario: Andre Igoudala
Michael Kidd-Gilchrist (MKD) is quickly becoming a scout and fan favorite playing for Kentucky this season. Kidd-Gilchrist is an extremely mature individual, years ahead of his age. What makes MKD so great is not his offensive prowess, but the intangibles and relentless motor that he brings to the floor every single game. Already a lockdown defender, MKD plays with tremendous composure and a fire that is seen in very few individuals. Standing at 6’7”, 232 lbs, MKD is an incredibly versatile player, and he projects to be a shooting guard in the NBA but could be effective at small forward as well.
Kidd-Gilchrist possesses excellent athleticism and strength for his position, and his frame should allow him to continue to increase his mass and strength. At 232 lbs, MKD is able to bang down low with larger college players and combined with his relentless pursuit he is a great offensive rebounder. He has an above average wingspan for his size at 6’11”.
Perhaps his greatest strengths lie on defense, where his excellent foot speed and fast hands make him one of the best on-ball defenders in college basketball. He possesses great defensive instincts and awareness, making him a smart help-side defender. MKD is able to rotate on defense to open spots before opponents can exploit the openings. Kidd-Gilchrist tends to always be in right spot at the right time, and creates his own luck due to his unyielding effort and intensity. A problem on defense for MKD is his high foul rate, and his incredible intensity can get him into foul trouble. As he continues to grow and develop, MKD will need to develop increased patience on defense to avoid committing preventable fouls. He is already one of the best defenders in college basketball and his work ethic and devotion to the game should allow him to become a special defensive player in the NBA.
Kidd-Gilchrist is an elite rebounder for his position and is never found standing idle when a shot goes up. He plays very scrappy and is great at getting inside position and maintaining it on an opponent. He is very active when pursuing loose balls and will do whatever it takes to help his team win. MKD is a true competitor who values team success above all else.
Great slasher with an excellent first step, and when driving he is able to attract double-teams and is effective at finding open teammates. MKD is a very smart passer and rarely looks for something that is not there. He has a very high basketball IQ and operates equally well in transition or in a half court offense. His spectacular body control and tremendous finishing ability allow him to score at the rim through contact.
Kidd-Gilchrist will need to improve his mid-range and perimeter shooting in order to avoid being a one-dimensional offensive player at the next level. His jump shot has been spotty this year, and he will need to continue to develop consistency through hard work in the offseason. His shooting mechanics are solid, but he can get away from his form at times, contributing to his inconsistencies shooting the ball. He also takes a lot of shots when not properly squared to the basket, and as he settles down and learns to better control his aggressive nature he could greatly improve his shooting percentages. If defenders are forced to honor his shooting ability, MKD may become a true threat to score on the wing. However, if he fails to develop a consistent jump shot, defenders can play off him to compensate for his quick first step, forcing him to shoot.
MKD possesses great ball-handling skills, and is exceptionally aggressive with the ball. He is able to shift his momentum and change direction very quickly when driving and can weave through a defense with incredible bursts. He tends to be overly aggressive at times, causing him to commit offensive fouls, contributing to his high foul rate. He has committed the most offensive fouls on Kentucky this season. He can force the issue at times while driving to the basket, and as he develops and matures he must learn to identify when something is not there before he commits to a drive. It is from his aggressive nature that his success stems, so problems committing offensive fouls are not necessarily a bad sign.
Photo Credits: WRDB