Prior to the draft, I frequently debated the merits and weaknesses of the draft prospects against each other in my mind. There was Thomas Robinson's furious motor, athleticism and rebounding. Kidd-Gilchrist's athletic gifts paired with great defensive talents.
Brandon (edit: freakin' a that was a stupid mistake) Bradley Beal's shooting and all-around skills despite a small size disadvantage. Harrison Barnes' veteran-like offensive game with solid defense. By the day, the prospect I favored changed in a revolving door of preferences.
The one saying that always permeates this is repeated ad nauseum from everyone on Twitter to the talking suits on ESPN: "take the best player available."
But that's not such a simple task. Is it talking about the best player at that moment? The possible best player at their respective peaks? Was Michael Beasley not pegged as better than Russell Westbrook in 2008? It's not so easy as the three-word axiom we've come to know as B.P.A. says.
So with this level of four or five players all around the same value and none distinguishing themselves above the rest, I thought the B.P.A. is hardly noticeably discernible. Looking at weaknesses, I began to sour on MKG in regards to the others. While the others had respectable defensive games to pair with their talented offense, MKG's shot looked to be headed to the trash heap and his offense mostly centered on transition plays. Particularly, I was pretty high on Harrison Barnes, and not only because he shares my love for Breaking Bad. I was eyeing trading down and grabbing the man with the vet offensive moves and solid defensive skills to complement them. I thought it could be a solid move for a team that lacked both offense and defense.
And I really wondered how valuable a defensive-minded wing would be on a team that already had a player like Gerald Henderson, whose jumper looks like Ray Allen's compared to MKG's janky shooting form.
Regardless of whatever I thought, the Bobcats drafted Kidd-Gilchrist and here we are.
After a game of summer league, my concerns about MKG's weaknesses are hardly laid to rest. Same for the rest of the team. Nothing is guaranteed to carry over into the regular season. I mean, I love to combine small sample sizes with weaker competition as much as the next guy, but we can't make any concrete predictions about the outcome of this coming season from that time. That said, he was impressive in his short showing.
Moving forward, things can get tricky with this roster, now with three defensively-oriented starters in Henderson, Kidd-Gilchrist and Biyombo. Unless things change drastically on offense for either of Henderson or Kidd-Gilchrist, it seems they occupy a very similar role. It's hard to speculate how MKG's offensive game compares to Henderson's, but Henderson's jumpshot doesn't make me grimace. With MKG's size advantage and ability to guard as many positions as Henderson, and possibly the ability to guard some power forwards, the Bobcats could be facing an excess of defensive-minded wings.
That's not necessarily a bad thing. After last season, the team could use all the defensive help they can get.
But when building a team with long term sustainable high-level competitiveness as the goal, you're going to need more help at the 2 or 3 to bring that dynamic scoring. Kidd-Gilchrist could very well have the higher ceiling over Henderson as the team moves forward looking to get more help on offense.
Maybe that just means pushing Henderson to the first or second man off the bench, which wouldn't be the worst thing. But I'm not sold Henderson can't be a starting shooting guard in the NBA to complement one of those star small forwards. And so he could be moved elsewhere at some point in the future.
As the Bobcats continue to build their team and in following with Rich Cho's ideology as a GM, they will continue to search out increasing their assets. In having two quite good wing defenders, one can be made available to facilitate the addition of a new player to fill an empty role or a draft pick to further invest in trying to find that star talent that can lead a team and terrorize a league.