Wow! It’s been a long time coming. That’s probably the most excited I’ve been watching a Bobcat’s game in like 2-3 years. And to think it was for a late night, Friday the 13th summer league game.
First, I do realize its just summer league, and any great performances you see here by either a player or team don’t normally translate to the regular season. Who knows, maybe next game they get throttled by 30 and we go back to our nice warm spot as the league’s laughingstock. But I do believe there are bits and pieces, signs and symptoms here which definitely are cause for hope.
Here’s what I took from the main cast of characters tonight.
Michael Kidd-Gilchrist – What a start!! I loved how he had that slight injury/tweak to his knee at the beginning of the game and didn’t require a wheelchair, he just brushed it off like nothing happened. As advertised, he relentlessly attacked on offense and defense. I noticed on a couple of his power drives that he jumped off the wrong foot, to maybe throw off the defender’s timing and avoid the block. Definitely a veteran move. As for his handle, while it seemed a little loose at times, you could obviously tell he knows how to make a move off the dribble to beat his man. Natural instincts are good to see more than technique right now. Just tighten that up, and nobody will be able to stay in front of him with his incredible first step.
Also showed good court vision and passing. Defensively, he is afraid of nothing, even taking on big burly Thomas Robinson head-to-head a couple times – and winning! He played free safety perfectly in the middle, collecting any and every loose ball that traversed his path. And maybe most impressive, besides scoring 18 points, grabbing 8 boards, dishing 5 assists, and gathering 4 steals in about 20 minutes, was that none of his offense was forced, as most rookies do when trying to make an impression. Everything came within the flow of the game, and yet he still had a tremendous impact on both sides of the ball. Can’t wait to see more.