Lauer Sounds Off: MKG

By Scott Lauer
March 7, 2013

Scott Lauer is the radio play-by-play voice of the Charlotte Bobcats. His column will appear on on Thursdays throughout the season. The opinions expressed here are his own and do not necessarily reflect the views of the Bobcats organization.

Is Michael Kidd-Gilchrist back to his early season productive ways? It appears that’s the case. The No. 2 overall pick in the draft out of Kentucky had a few breakout-type performances on the 2012 calendar side of the season. In his fifth career game, on November 10 against Dallas, MKG had 25 points and 12 rebounds in a win. He followed that up with a 15-point, eight-rebound game in a home victory against Washington. How about a week later? 15 points, nine boards and four assists against Milwaukee in yet another win! See the early trend? He was a key piece to a few of the early wins.

His next true eye-popping game came on December 19 in Phoenix. Although it was a loss to the Suns, the rookie had 25 points, 12 boards, four assists and three steals! His scoring came on only 14 field goal attempts (he hit nine of them), but he went to the line eight times. On December 29 against New Orleans, he dropped 22 points, nine boards and added two blocks in a loss to the Hornets. Unfortunately, he suffered an eye contusion in the game, and that was the beginning of his drop-off.

Kidd-Gilchrist would go 28-straight games scoring 15-or-fewer points, and that included a stretch of 14-straight single-digit games. You could tell he just wasn’t the same. On February 2, in the midst of that period, he suffered a concussion in Houston when Jeff Taylor’s right hip accidentally hit MKG in the back of the head as both went for a block on Toney Douglas. That compounded the problems.

However, since that string of scoring under 10 points, he’s hit double-figures in six of eight heading into Friday’s game against Oklahoma City. That includes back-to-back games of 17 points (in Portland and against Brooklyn). He’s 16-for-24 in the last two games combined, hitting eight field goals in each. He’s had a few offensive follows, especially in Portland, but what stands out to me is his mid-range shooting conviction. He’s hit many jumpers in the last two games and it appears as though he is as confident as we’ve seen all year in that shot. Coach Dunlap partially attributes it to him returning to health, as well as his “quiet” extra work in the gym. He consistently works on that jumper with Assistant Coach Rick Brunson.

We shouldn’t spend time focusing exclusively on scoring, as I did to a large degree in this piece. However it is indicative of his production level to an extent, and how those injuries potentially manipulated his effectiveness. MKG is the type of player who’s value far exceeds his point totals, but it’s nice to see that his scoring is rolling back to form over the last two weeks, along with the rest of his game.

On Friday, he’ll log plenty of minutes against the perennial top scorer in the league, Kevin Durant, which takes us back to one of his strengths; defense.

Lauer Blog Archive:
2/28/13: Lauer Sounds Off: Assistants Filling Roles
2/21/13: Lauer Sounds Off: Mullens and Hendo Combo Key for Cats
2/7/13: Lauer Sounds Off: Numbers
1/31/13: Lauer Sounds Off: Grizzlies Get Trading Started
1/24/13: Lauer Sounds Off: Biz a Bright Spot in Last 2 Games
1/14/13: Lauer Sounds Off: Seattle Still Deserves a Team
12/27/12: Lauer Sounds Off: 9 Observations Heading Into New Year
12/20/12: Lauer Sounds Off: Kemba Deserves All-Star Consideration
12/13/12: Lauer Sounds Off: Biz a Big Matchup
11/29/12: Lauer Sounds Off: MKG Making a Positive Impact
11/15/12: Lauer Sounds Off: Good to See Cats Getting National Recognition
11/8/12: Lauer Sounds Off: Cats Have Options without Hendo
10/31/12: Lauer Sounds Off: NBA Predictions
10/25/12: Lauer Sounds Off: Kids Have a Blast at Cool School
10/18/12: Lauer Sounds Off: Thoughts Midway Through Preseason
10/11/12: Lauer Sounds Off: Bobcats Visit Charleston
10/4/12: Lauer Sounds Off: Thomas Stronger, Focused
9/27/12: Training Camp In Asheville!
9/20/12: Offseason Moves