Strengths and Weaknesses
The former No. 2 pick had a rookie season full of ups and downs. He displayed his talented defensive chops nightly and struggled scoring and seemed to go off the track a bit after suffering a concussion in February. After setting his sights on lofty achievements in his first season, Kidd-Gilchrist was disappointed in himself. With a full NBA season under his belt and some jump shot tutelage under the watchful eyes of Mark Price, perhaps the highly touted pick will be able to right what he missed last season.
Though we all know Kidd-Gilchrist's shot is a train wreck, it's not his jumpshooting that enticed the Bobcats to draft him. His defense is already terrific, and should improve with some more NBA experience under his belt this time. Kidd-Gilchrist's a savvy defender that stays on his feet and has the ability to jump passing lanes due to his lateral quickness and awareness. He's also a rather strong rebounder. The young forward boxes out well and outmaneuvers opponents to snag offensive boards.
The other side of the ball is much more a mixed bag. Despite not drawing rave reviews for it, Kidd-Gilchrist is a decent ball-handler and can create his own shot to a degree, ranking 77th in the league last year in points per possession on isolation plays. Because of his poor jump shot, his offense must come off the ball or by getting into the paint. To his credit, he does move well without the ball and has a set of soft hands that you can have confidence in passing to in traffic. He also uses his body well to create space and angles in the paint. However, this sometimes gets him trapped against the baseline when driving and he gets forced into poor wild shot attempts.
No one out there should think Mark Price has fixed Kidd-Gilchrist's shot much, but with any luck it will be a tad bit more consistent than last year, though I suppose it's hard to be less consistent than 28 percent shooting from anywhere but at the rim. I'd expect more solid defense, which will probably be tough to notice with the interior defense being Cody Zeller and Al Jefferson.
Strengths and Weaknesses
Everyone's in love with the "3-and-D" players these days and it's not hard to see why. They hustle and do the gritty defensive work in a smaller yet still vital role and despite not wielding a versatile offense, they can put in bunches of efficient scoring by dropping bombs from beyond the arc. They're valuable for spacing the court on offense and defense, creating havoc by stretching opposing defenses and meddling in their offensive flows.
Jeff Taylor has the potential to fill this role for the Bobcats. He's a wiry, long, springy forward gifted with great speed, agility and anticipation on defense. Taylor's always eager to jump passing lanes and create turnovers, though sometimes this doesn't work out for the best. Gerald Wallace was like that and had to tone it down until the team installed a defensive system that could cover for his gambles without giving up disastrous holes. On offense Taylor can shoot the long ball at a decent clip and it shows(34.4 percent on 3-pointers): The spot-up shot is the highest percentage of his offense comes from at 37.6 percent of his possessions. After that, about 25 percent of his total possessions come in transition.
Taylor wasn't bad last year, but just inconsistent even if it wasn't totally his fault. From night to night his minutes could be anywhere from in the single digits to the mid-20's. This season Taylor should get a lot more consistent minutes backing up Kidd-Gilchrist and perhaps even at shooting guard as Steve Clifford eschews small ball. Taylor's had a strong offseason in Las Vegas Summer League and for Sweden in international play. Hopefully some of that can carry into the regular season.
Position depth grade: C+
Right now, I'd say this position is pretty average for the Bobcats. I think we'll see a bit more of what we already know about Kidd-Gilchrist with some slight increases statistically and Jeff Taylor should continue his development into a solid role player off the bench. They have a great defender starting that struggles on offense and decent swingman coming off the bench. The lack of scoring punch here hurts but the Bobcats' defense is strongest here at the wing.