Dec 7 2012 9:45AM

MKG: Makings Of A Winner


Layne Murdoch/NBAE/Getty Images

His high school team went undefeated until losing in the state finals in 2011. His college team won the 2012 NCAA championship.

Now, NBA rookie Michael Kidd-Gilchrist is helping turn his professional team into a winner too. That is no small task when you consider MKG is a rookie for the Charlotte Bobcats, who are coming off a 7-59 season, which equated to the worst winning percentage in NBA history.

Anyone who knows MKG also recognizes he is the ultimate winner, the ultimate competitor.

So when the Bobcats opened the 2012-13 season with a 7-5 start out the gate, MKG’s biggest fans had to let out triumphant I-told-you-so smiles.

The Kidd-Gilchrist kid is special.

His college roommate at Kentucky—top pick in the 2012 NBA Draft Anthony Davis—was most people’s pick to win Rookie of the Year.

Summer League and NBA preseason standout Damian Lillard was the chic pick.

However, MKG—the No. 2 choice in the 2012 NBA Draft—has forced everyone to recognize he is a legit candidate too.

Only one of ESPN’s panel of 35 experts made MKG their 2012-13 ROY selection--20 chose Davis; 11 chose Lillard.

Granted, Charlotte lost five straight games--dropping to 7-12 overall with Wednesday's two-point loss to the Knicks--but the Bobcat small forward has come up big for the Bobcats in the team's first dozen games.

The 19-year-old 6-7, 232-pounder showed he is for real, not only leading Charlotte to that 4-3 start, but also posting an 17.18 Player Efficiency Rating, ranking second among all majority rookies.

The all-around stud is averaging 10.8 points, 6.3 rebounds, 1.6 assists, 1.4 blocks and 1.1 steals in 27.2 minutes per game.

His importance to the Bobcats is paramount and best illustrated through plus-minus stats.

At 82Games.com, the numbers show the Bobcats perform -1.5 points per 100 possessions better when MKG is on the floor and -10.3 points per 100 possessions worse when he is off.

That’s a +8.8 point swing per 100 possessions caused by one teen-age rookie.

Yeah, 12 games is a limited sample size, but what can I say?

MKG is a winner.

He is an elite athlete who competes every minute he is on the floor. He attacks on offense (draws fouls), attacks on defense (blocks and steals) and is just a joy to watch.

MKG: He's the NBA's answer to RG3.