After the disappointing Hornets season ended I took some time to really look at this roster as a whole and individually to see what changes can be made to get this team in a position to win that elusive first round playoff series. We know that we will be very limited due to the lack of cap space, so we won’t be making any big splashes in free-agency. We also know the draft and the Hornets often don’t get along and it’s unlikely the Hornets will be drafting early enough to get a guy who can really help right away. Then, you consider the fact that Clifford would actually have to play him, which isn’t likely either.
This leads us to the trade market. Charlotte likely won’t be trading away Kemba, Cody or Batum. Marvin and Plumlee are on huge contracts, so they’re unlikely as well. That leaves us with Michael Kidd-Gilchrist as the Hornets best trade bait. The question is, has the time come to pull the trigger on the scrappy defender with the broken jumper? I compiled some stats to compare him to some other mid-level small-forwards in the league.
9.2 points, 7.0 rebounds, 1.4 assists, 48% FG
106-of-304, 35% on jump-shots
13.9 points, 5.8 rebounds, 2.2 assists, 46% FG, 40% 3FG
39% on jump-shots (393 of which were from 3)
14.4 points, 5.1 rebounds, 1.1 assists, 50% FG
39.4% (218-of-554) on jump-shots
I can hear everyone lighting their torches to come run me out of town yelling “MKG is all about defense!”, so I did some looking at that too.
MKG defensive field goal percentage – 45.2%
Jae Crowder – 41.6%
T.J. Warren – 44%
This stat isn’t all inclusive, but it does show a trend. While MKG is a good defender, his lack of offensive skill makes it necessary for him to be an lockdown defender, which he isn’t.
At $13-million next year, his contract is tradeable. I think MKG will take some small steps to improve, but on a team desperate for another scorer who can spread the floor, he just doesn’t fit the need as the small-forward.
MKG is 23 years old and still has the “potential” to grow into a better player. However, if he doesn’t take a big step next season many around the league are going to be less likely to believe that narrative, shrinking his value.
It seems reasonable the Hornets could package MKG and their lottery pick for two young players, preferably a point guard and a wing, that can help solidify the bench and help give this team more depth. The team might also be able to squeeze a first-round pick coming back in a deal like this.
The late season play of Treveon Graham helps in this decision as well. While he is not ready to start, I do see him contributing next season. This team needs to shake up their roster, and this may be a way to get more athletic while adding some smaller contracts to allow more flexibility when it comes time to resign Kemba. I’m confident that their will be trades out there to be made, I’m just hoping Cho sees what I see.