As the Charlotte Bobcats dropped to 10-30 on the season and lost their 14th consecutive home contest on Saturday night, another troubling development began to take place among the team. It’s an issue concerning the number two overall pick in the draft, Michael Kidd-Gilchrist.
The Bobcats seem to be taking away much of the large role that the rookie has played for them this season. On the year, he’s started 37 of the 38 games that he’s been active for and averaged 27.3 minutes per game over that stretch.
However, in the last five matchups, MKG has only been averaging 23.2 minutes per game, playing under 24 minutes in all but one of those games, most notably only playing 18 minutes on Saturday night against the Sacramento Kings.
For most rookies, this wouldn’t be that big of an issue. You could write it off as a team resting a young player or trying to switch things up and give other people opportunities because the rookie will be around in the future. But Charlotte’s plan for this season didn’t include that.
Their plan was to develop their young players, specifically Kidd-Gilchrist, this season by giving them a high amount of exposure and playing time in the pro game. Up to this point, they had been doing just that. But now, it appears like they are abandoning that strategy, which is a poor idea for the franchise.
MKG may not be the best basketball player in the world right now, but he also has immeasurable athleticism and an unreal amount of potential. He’s already developed this season, becoming more aggressive offensively and with his defensive skills. You have to assume that with time he would improve more and more.
But with the Bobcats abandoning their plan of playing him a substantial amount of minutes, that’s not going to happen in the same way. Kidd-Gilchrist is going to hit somewhat of a plateau in his progress because he’s not going to be getting the same experience and exposure that helps young players develops.
In regards to the future of the Bobcats, that’s not a good thing at all. Kidd-Gilchrist is never going to be a Kevin Durant or LeBron James type of player; that’s not in his DNA. However, he is and will be an incredibly valuable asset for a basketball team.
That’s not going to matter though, if Charlotte continues to stifle his development like they seem to be starting to do. If this pattern continues, MKG will end up being just another talented, but under-developed player. Hopefully, the Bobcats will see that and end this recent trend.