NBA Draft 2012: Michael Kidd-Gilchrist Must Go to Golden State Warriors

Lance SmithCorrespondent IJune 13, 2012

NEW ORLEANS, LA - APRIL 02:  Tyshawn Taylor #10 of the Kansas Jayhawks puts up a shot over Michael Kidd-Gilchrist #14 of the Kentucky Wildcats in the National Championship Game of the 2012 NCAA Division I Men's Basketball Tournament at the Mercedes-Benz Superdome on April 2, 2012 in New Orleans, Louisiana.  (Photo by Ronald Martinez/Getty Images)
Ronald Martinez/Getty Images

If the Golden State Warriors want to be title contenders a few years from now, and a playoff lock now, they need to acquire Michael Kidd-Gilchrist in the 2012 NBA draft.

Disclaimer: I'm not the first person to say what I'm going to say. Most knowledgeable Warriors fans have already hopped onto the idea of trading up for MKG. I'm just reiterating some points.

Second disclaimer: I'm assuming that acquiring a big-name small forward without trading away a franchise player is impossible—which it isn't necessarily, but highly unlikely.

Last season, Michael Kidd-Gilchrist was a 6'7", 228-lbs freshman small forward at Kentucky. In only 31 minutes per game, he averaged 12 points per game on 49 percent shooting and 26 percent three-point shooting. He also grabbed over seven rebounds per game—excellent for a small forward—dished two dimes every night and played some of the best defense in the NCAA. 

Being a relatively poor shooter, MKG is an exemplary slasher. He has insane athleticism, a 6'10" wingspan and an incredible motor that helps him run every fast break to perfection. He can drive and finish exceptionally well, not just in transition but also in the half court. 

His physical tools and remarkable ability to finish at the rim allows him to get to the rim at a high rate, despite his poor shooting and rather weak handle. 

His shooting isn't completely hopeless, and when his form looks good, he can actually shoot rather well.

He was one of the best rebounding wings in college last year, and that should translate easily to the NBA.

Scouts expect him to immediately be one of the better overall defensive players in the NBA as soon as he steps onto the court, and his incredible motor and work ethic boost his stock as much as anything in his profile. His intangibles are among the best in the class, and he has been one of the most competitive athletes we've seen as freshmen in college.

For all of these reasons, his potential is considered to be easily at the All-Star level. 

Basically, he is everything the Warriors need. First of all, they're set at every position besides small forward.

Dorell Wright went from a top-10 small forward to a poor starter over the course of the season, and Richard Jefferson will only get you so far. Brandon Rush is more of a shooting guard than a small forward, and he's at his best as a sixth man off the bench. Chris Wright is far from ready.

While the Warriors are set inside, more rebounding will always help, especially knowing the Warriors.

Defensively, Stephen Curry is average at best, and Klay Thompson is poor. Adding Michael Kidd-Gilchrist would give them a player who can cover anybody at any of those guys' positions, and when needed, he can slide over to the power forward spot to guard smaller, more athletic big men. 

Offensively, he would complement the team beautifully. 

Stephen Curry and Klay Thompson form an incredible shooting duo. David Lee is one of the very best high-post scorers in the NBA, and Andrew Bogut is more than capable on the block.

The team doesn't need another pass-first player.

Stephen Curry is still raw as a distributor, and his assist and turnover numbers aren't great, but anybody who has watched him knows that he can already run an offense—and that his potential as a distributor is among the best in the league.

David Lee is one of the best-passing big men in the NBA, and when Bogut was healthy, he was more of a distributor than Brandon Jennings.

So the team doesn't need a distributor, although MKG's passing skills are very solid for his age.

What the team lacks is an athletic wing who focuses on driving and getting out in transition. Offensively, that's exactly what Kidd-Gilchrist is.

The team has past, present and future stars at each position.

Stephen Curry may only be a year or two away from making an All-Star team, and Klay Thompson is already one of the best catch-and-shoot players in the league. Once he began to start last season, his ability to create his own shot became evident.

David Lee averaged 20 and 10 this season, and although he was the primary option, he shot above 50 percent from the field. This was despite playing out of position as a center, and having to force up to many shots due to a lack of help. Again, his passing skills are stellar, and with Bogut around now, his poor defense can be downplayed a bit.

Also, the last time Andrew Bogut was healthy, he made the All-NBA Third Team. On the other hand, Stephen Curry is starting to look like he'll never be healthy. Thompson hasn't yet proven to be more than a poor man's Ray Allen David Lee will only get you so far, especially because in a couple years, he'll start declining.

So another thing that the team needs is somebody who looks like a sure thing.

Again, Kidd-Gilchrist is the definition of a sure thing. He doesn't have an injury history, and he's simply labeled as not a possible future bust. His determination and personality wouldn't allow him to be anything less than his best.

Nobody in a Warriors jersey is a sure thing, but drafting MKG would help repair the mindset that the Warriors are always unlucky. 

Hopefully by now, you've realized that Michael Kidd-Gilchrist is a perfect fit for the Warriors.

And he happens to be the only one of such fits in the lottery.

Harrison Barnes doesn't fit any of the needs that MKG does. Every other small forward that was in the lottery is falling out of it. And even if the Warriors do want Barnes, there's a chance that he won't be around once the seventh pick comes around.

While some project Kidd-Gilchrist to be taken second overall by the Bobcats, it has become clear that the Bobcats are shopping the pick

The Warriors have the seventh, 30th, 35th and 52nd overall picks this draft. The Warriors should be willing to offer all four picks in the draft for that second pick—and maybe future ones, if necessary.

After all, anybody who actually knows anything about the Warriors knows that they won't end up in the lottery anytime soon, and a future pick would likely go rather late. 

If you disagree, tell me if you'd rather have a pretty good player who doesn't fit the team, along with a few decent role players, or if you'd rather have a future All-Star or superstar that perfectly fits the team. 

Finally, the Warriors need to find out how far down MKG will go.

While he could go second overall, the latest he's been projected to go is sixth. The difference of how much they'd have to trade between the second and the sixth pick is pretty big.

The point is, they shouldn't go for the second overall pick if they don't need to go that high anyway.

Michael Kidd-Gilchrist would singlehandedly fit every need the Warriors have besides bench depth—which isn't unobtainable per se—and they might not have to do that much more to get him. If he's still around at No. 5, for example, picks No. 7 and No. 30 would likely be sufficient, unless a team is specifically attached to him.

The Warriors need MKG, and they should go to great lengths to grab him, as once they do, there really won't be anything more that they need.


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