Michael Kidd-Gilchrist Rumors
Forward Michael Kidd-Gilchrist will represent the Hornets at the NBA’s annual Draft Lottery next Tuesday, May 19, in New York. “I’m excited to attend the lottery on behalf of our team,” Kidd-Gilchrist said. “I look forward to being in New York and hopefully bringing us some luck.”
So he went to work last summer. Assistant coach Mark Price, one of the best shooters in NBA history, tore everything apart and put it back together. The hitch and sidespin are gone and Kidd-Gilchrist now has a release point that doesn’t come on his descent from the jump. The result? He makes 43 percent of his mid-range jump shots this season, compared to an embarrassing 28 percent a season ago. That forces defenders to get up on him, making his drives so much more effective.
Charlotte Hornets coach Steve Clifford made a bold statement recently, saying small forward Michael Kidd-Gilchrist has the talent to be the best perimeter defender among this generation of NBA players. Not bold enough apparently. On Thursday Kidd-Gilchrist trumped Clifford’s expectation. “I want to say ever; not just in the league (now). The best defender this league has seen,” Kidd-Gilchrist told the Observer.
Yes, that really was 34-year-old Richard Jefferson rising from the dotted line and throwing down a vicious tomahawk slam over 21-year old Michael Kidd-Gilchrist. The dunk was so stunning and so sweet that players on the Charlotte Hornets’ bench were falling over each other in shocked awe. “It was sick!” said Dirk Nowitzki, whose All-Star alley-oop is no longer the most surprising dunk of the Dallas Mavericks season, although players swear the 14-year veteran Jefferson has dunked like that in practice.
Shake was not a big basketball fan, and privacy laws prohibited her from discussing her high-profile patient without his permission, so her kids didn’t understand why Mom kept sneaking into the bathroom after games, listening to interviews on the radio. She and Kidd-Gilchrist broke down the tapes later. “Listen to how beautiful your statement was!” Shake would exclaim, while he protested. They could typically hear a water bottle, which he clutched to occupy his hands, crunching in the background.
Shake discovered that Kidd-Gilchrist responded to movement, so he sometimes spoke while sliding a finger across his leg, and to rhythm, so she brought a metronome to their sessions. For Christmas, Kidd-Gilchrist’s grandmother gave him a metronome watch, the kind worn by drummers. Like many people who stutter, Kidd-Gilchrist is mostly fluent when he sings, speaks in accents or reads aloud. He and Shake read in unison. She provided tools and confidence, same as Price.
When Jefferson returned to Charlotte last August, he watched Kidd-Gilchrist take aim. “Damn,” Jefferson gushed, “that looks good.” Kidd-Gilchrist could not remember the last time someone said something genuinely nice about his J. “Really?” he asked. “I mean, for real? It looks good?” Price won’t go quite that far. “It looks… normal,” he says, the implication being that normal in this case is remarkable. When Kidd-Gilchrist’s form was first broadcast in training camp, via the Hornets’ Instagram account, he called his mom. “Did you see it?” he hollered. “You’ve got to see it.”
Several teams hired Price as a shooting consultant or player development coach, but in 2013 the Hornets made him a full-time assistant. His first project was Kidd-Gilchrist. “Good luck,” another coach told him. “You can’t fix that.” Price accepted the job on one condition: “Nobody tells Michael Kidd-Gilchrist anything about his shot but me.” Price suggested subtle alterations throughout last season, but the stroke required massive reconstruction, and that demanded months of dedicated training.
Everyone approached with advice or criticism. He saved the snarkiest tweets for motivation. Coach Steve Clifford called Kidd-Gilchrist into his office and highlighted all his strengths, but that didn’t help. “A lot of guys only see the good in what they do,” Clifford says. “He is the opposite.”
Cindy was not Catholic, but she entered Michael in grief counseling with a Camden nun named Helen Cole. “I’d see her every week,” Kidd-Gilchrist recalls, “and I could talk to her about anything. She became like my second mom.” Sister Cole taught him that help was always available, as long as a person was humble enough and courageous enough to accept it. In first grade Michael was diagnosed with cognitive learning disabilities, and in second he started seeing a speech therapist for the stutter he had developed as a toddler. “God has blessed Michael with a gift,” a school administrator told Cindy. “Help him discover what that gift is.”
Kidd-Gilchrist is rummaging through his backpack on the 14th floor of the JW Marriott in downtown Los Angeles, searching for a DVD of The Lion King, which he carries almost everywhere he goes. His earliest memories are of watching the movie with his father, Michael Gilchrist Sr. He was Simba. His dad was Mufasa. They bought the stuffed animals. They recited the lines. In August 1996, a month before the boy’s third birthday, Michael Sr. was shot and killed in a still-unsolved murder on the east side of Camden, N.J. Michael says he remembers the last time they were together. “We were in bed,” he says, “watching The Lion King.” At the funeral, he slid the Simba doll into the casket.
Rick Bonnell: Hornets injury update: MKG and Gary Neal out. Marvin Williams (shoulder) doubtful. Looks like Kemba (thigh) and P.J. (thumb) will play.
Charlotte Hornets General Manager Rich Cho announced today that the team has exercised its fourth-year option on forward Michael Kidd-Gilchrist and its third-year option on forward Cody Zeller. “We are excited to keep both of these young talents as part of our core for another season,” Cho said. “We have been very pleased with their improvement and look forward to seeing them continue to grow alongside the great group of guys we have in our locker room.”
The results won’t start becoming public until next Wednesday when the Hornets play their first exhibition in Philadelphia. But the head coach sounds encouraged. “I’ve never seen anybody’s shooting mechanics change more drastically, in the year or so Mark has worked with him,” Steve Clifford said Monday. “He’s not Dell Curry, and that’s important for him to understand and us to understand. He’s played one way his whole life. Mike has always caught it and said, ‘I’ll drive it or pass it.’ Now he has more ability to shoot the ball. “If he can get to that point where he makes some shots, he’ll have a much different career.”
Now consider the look: Everything about Kidd-Gilchrist’s jump shot appeared awkward. He would launch the ball almost as he landed at the end of his jump. The shot had a weird side spin, like a Frisbee flying through the air. Price, one of the great shooters in NBA history – 40.9 percent from 3-point range and 90.4 percent from the foul line – was charged with tearing apart Kidd-Gilchrist’s delivery and replacing it with something sound and reliable. “I told everyone in management this was going to be a process,” Price said, invoking the magic word. “I always knew this was going to be a big summer for Mike and I give him a lot of credit. We started in May and really broke some things down. He listened, he applied it and the biggest part is he stuck with it. We all know when somebody is making some changes there are tendencies to slip back.”
“ Tell me one guy that they’ve found that nobody knew about . We know about the guys they’ve missed. Two years ago they were down on Damian Lillard. He was too old [then 21 after four years at Weber State without attracting enough interest to enter the draft]. He didn’t play in a major conference. He wasn’t a steals guy. He didn’t shoot a lot of free throws. “They loved Michael Kidd-Gilchrist. He got a lot of rebounds and steals. He went to the line. He just couldn’t shoot. How did that work out?”
Massachusetts guard Derrick Gordon, a high-school teammate of Charlotte Bobcats forward Michael Kidd-Gilchrist, announced publicly Wednesday he is gay, becoming the first male Division I basketball player to do so. Before Wednesday’s game against the Washington Wizards, Kidd-Gilchrist released the following statement through the Bobcats: “Derrick was a great teammate and is an even better friend. I admire his courage and willingness to share his story. Just as we supported each other on the court, I am proud to support him now. He is a basketball player, a teammate and a friend, and that’s all that matters.”
Charlotte Bobcats small forward Michael Kidd-Gilchrist, who has missed six weeks with a broken left hand, will return to action Tuesday night against the New York Knicks. “My hand is doing well. I’m just ready to play. It’s been a month, so I can’t wait until [Tuesday] against the Knicks,” Kidd-Gilchrist told the Charlotte Observer on Monday. “I’m out of rhythm a little bit, but that’s usual. I want to be on the court and win some games.”
Injuries to Kidd-Gilchrist (broken hand) and fellow small forward Jeff Taylor (ruptured Achilles tendon) have been rough on this team. Taylor is out for the season, but Kidd-Gilchrist could be back as soon as next week. “Since it’s his left hand (for a right-hander), he’s still shooting every day and he’s done a great job with his conditioning. So to me once he practices he can play. I’m hoping next week,” Bobcats coach Steve Clifford said Monday. “He comes to all the film sessions, and the pre-game (preparation). He’s right on top of things.”
The Bobcats are targeting an important stretch of games in the middle of the month, possibly as soon as Jan. 14, for the return of Michael Kidd-Gilchrist from a fractured left hand, coach Steve Clifford said. “Next weekend we’re at Minnesota, at Chicago, and we’re hoping to have him back after that,” Clifford said Saturday night at Sleep Train Arena, where Charlotte beat the Kings to close an otherwise-disappointing 1-4 trip. Under that scenario, Kidd-Gilchrist would rejoin the team for the Jan. 14 home game against the Knicks, a particularly welcome addition at a time the defense is slipping after previously leading the Bobcats into the playoff conversation.
From what I can gather, all of the Bobcats’ phone calls are about making this team better now. I’m even hearing rumblings that Michael Kidd-Gilchrist will be on the table when he returns from injury.
Douglas-Roberts was fine with that because he wanted one more chance, the one the Bobcats offered Tuesday. “Nothing bothers me,” Douglas-Roberts said. “I’m just here to play basketball.” That’s the message he delivered Tuesday night to Kidd-Gilchrist, the protégé he calls “little cousin.” “I told him you have to embrace all the pressure (of being the No. 2 overall pick). Never shy away from it,” Douglas-Roberts said. “You want people criticizing you. You want the media talking about you, positively or negatively.”
Charlotte Bobcats forward Michael Kidd-Gilchrist invited an old friend to his home Tuesday for dinner and a chat. The friend – a mentor, really – offered lots of advice, which Kidd-Gilchrist summed up this way: “He told me to ‘man up,’” Kidd-Gilchrist recalled. The old friend is also a new teammate – Chris Douglas-Roberts.
Jeff Zillgitt: Oh my. More metacarpals. Bobcats F Michael Kidd-Gilchrist will miss 4-6 weeks w/non-displaced fracture of fourth metacarpal in left hand.
Kidd-Gilchrist sat glumly in front of his locker, awkwardly attempting to get dressed with his fractured left hand secured by a metal brace and tightly wrapped, his ring and index fingers taped together. He didn’t know yet how long this freak injury would keep him out. Incredibly, he didn’t even know how or when the damage occurred, other than that something happened at some point before the 4:35 mark of the third quarter. “I looked down at my finger and it was pointing the wrong way,” Kidd-Gilchrist said of his left ring finger. “I didn’t feel anything at the time.”
Rick Bonnell: #bobcats say MKG’s fractured left hand will be re-evaluated tomorrow in Charlotte. I don’t know when he was hurt.
Earl K. Sneed: Per Bobcats PR, Michael Kidd-Gilchrist will not return with a fractured left hand. #DALvsCHA
It looks like Charlotte Bobcats small forward Michael Kidd-Gilchrist will be back to play against the NBA champion Miami Heat Sunday, after Kidd-Gilchrist missed Friday’s victory over the Milwaukee Bucks with plantar fasciitis. Certainly they need him, matched against Miami’s LeBron James, last season’s league most valuable player and probably the most versatile offensive weapon in the NBA. Kidd-Gilchrist fully participated in practice Saturday before the team flew to Miami for a 6 p.m., Sunday tip-off at American Airlines Arena. Coach Steve Clifford said he plans to start Kidd-Gilchrist unless there’s some unexpected setback between now and the game.
Charlotte Bobcats small forward Michael Kidd-Gilchrist could miss tonight’s home game against the Milwaukee Bucks after being diagnosed with plantar fasciitis in his right foot. Bobcats coach Steve Clifford told the Observer at morning shootaround that Kidd-Gilchrist was “highly questionable” to play tonight.
Cody Zeller joins Michael Kidd-Gilchrist, Jeff Taylor and Bismack Biyombo as other Jordan endorsers who play for the Bobcats. There are more players on Jordan’s team getting paid to wear Jordan than any other team in the league.