Give Michael Kidd-Gilchrist credit. He won’t be the NBA Rookie of the Year this season, but he sure looked like one of the top first-year players on Saturday.
The Charlotte Bobcats have been waiting for Kidd-Gilchrist to erupt all season and play like the No. 2 pick that he was in the 2012 draft. He has so much potential, and the Bobcats have been waiting for it to show on the floor every game. But his numbers have been disappointing at 9.1 points, 5.6 rebounds and 1.5 assists per game.
Perhaps he realizes the end is drawing near for his rookie season, and now is the time to kick everything into high gear. That could be the message he has taken with him into the last two games.
Gilchrist has been averaging less than 26 minutes per game but played more than 30 minutes his last two outings with outstanding results.
Saturday, in a 100-92 Charlotte loss to the Philadelphia 76ers, Gilchrist saw 34 minutes of action, hitting 9-of-11 from the floor and 3-of-4 from the charity stripe, while grabbing nine rebounds.
The previous game against the New York Knicks, he played 31 minutes and was 6-of-11 from the floor and 2-of-2 in free-throws for 14 points and eight rebounds.
Those performances, while not dazzling, certainly were improvements from previous Kidd-Gilchrist games. If he keeps it up, the Bobcats will be thrilled.
His goal should be to have a strong finish to the regular season, do well in summer league and be ready to explode as an NBA sophomore. It can still be done.