Apr 2, 2012; New Orleans, LA, USA; Kentucky Wildcats forward Michael Kidd-Gilchrist (14) shoots over Kansas Jayhawks center Jeff Withey (5) during the finals of the 2012 NCAA men

Michael Kidd-Gilchrist: The Draft Prospectus

Talks concerning the Cleveland Cavaliers and landing former Kentucky Wildcat Michael Kidd-Gilchrist in the 2012 NBA Draft would have seemed like an illogical argument a month ago. Injuries and tanking are big reasons why the Cavaliers are now in position to have the third-highest chances of winning the NBA draft lottery.

A dismal record of 4-11 in April (1-6 in their last seven games) put the Cavaliers in a position to land a much higher draft pick than they thought they were going to end up with in the beginning of the season. In fact, there was a time where the Cavaliers were thrown into the playoff race, but that was a time where Anderson Varejao and Kyrie Irving were on the court together.

As the Cavaliers look forward to next season, the question becomes “Considering their pick, who should the Cavaliers take with their lottery pick?” With the NBA it’s a whole lot harder to analyze a draft before you even know when teams are picking, but hypothetically speaking, the Cavaliers could end up with a pick as high as one and as low as 14 (hopefully not the latter).

What I see in this year’s draft class is six or so players that can come into the Cavaliers organization and make an impact right away. Last post I put the spotlight on Florida freshmen guard Bradley Beal, but that was two or so weeks ago. With the recent extreme tanking by Cleveland I figure the Cavs will be able to score a higher draft pick then where Beal will end up. With that said, the Cavaliers have a legitimate shot at landing Kidd-Gilchrist.

So why a small forward? Honestly I believe our biggest need right now is a wingman (with a healthy Tristan Thompson and Anderson Varejao on the floor next year). Veteran guard Anthony Parker had assumed that role for part of his three years in the organization. Parker, who is 36-years old, will most likely play his last game in a Wine and Gold uniform on Thursday against the Chicago Bulls. Parker showed his age on the court this season, missing playing time due to an injury despite having one of his better shooting seasons.

Daniel Gibson also has seen plenty of playing time as a wingman, but an injury on March 19 kept him out for the remainder of the season. Boobie had struggled most of the season trying to find his shot, shooting a career-worst 35.1 field goal percentage.

With all that said, I think the No. 1 need for the Cavaliers this offseason is finding someone to compliment Irving, and who better than his old high school teammate Kidd-Gilchrist. Although the Wildcat freshmen didn’t have a spectacular season dishing out the ball (averaged 1.9 assists), I don’t think the Cavs are looking for a distributor in this draft. Irving can become that guy once head coach Byron Scott gets some more hands-on time with the young fella.

I think Kidd-Gilchrist has what it takes to become a wingman at the next level, a Scottie Pippen-type player. Kidd-Gilchrist has some of those same qualities in himself that people saw in the hall of famer. A great defender who has great leaping abilities to put himself in position for rebounds is the kind of player that the Cavs see in Kidd-Gilchrist.

Averaging 11.9 point and 7.4 rebounds as a freshmen are pretty impressive stats, but its the way that Kidd-Gilchrist plays that intrigues me (see video below). The way he positions himself down low, his ability to get up and block shots from point-blank territory and his acceleration make him, in my opinion, one of the most complete players in the draft.

Although he has yet to establish a certain shot for himself, that shouldn’t be a concern at all. Already having a lot of the mechanics and motor skills (like those mentioned above) makes him one of the most NBA-ready players as well. He will have all summer to work in the gym on hist shot, and it’s guaranteed that he’ll do just that. Kidd-Gilchrist has a very good work ethic and just likes to win.

Who wouldn’t you want a player like that?

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Tags: Antawn Jamison Anthony Parker Cleveland Cavaliers Kentucky Wildcats Kyrie Irving Michael Kidd-Gilchrist Scottie Pippen

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