'Sic 'Em!' Can New Signee Kidd-Gilchrist Return To Defensive-Stopper Status with Mavs?
DALLAS - The Dallas Mavericks have sealed a deal with defensive-minded wing Michael Kidd-Gilchrist, who has finalized his buyout with the Charlotte Hornets. ... and now will work to regain "sic' em!'' status with a playoff contender.
The evaluation from Hornets beat writer Rick Bonnell:
Kidd-Glichrist was more negatively impacted by the Hornets’ youth movement than any other veteran. A former No. 2 overall pick, he played in only 12 games this season.
It was clear on media day, just before training camp in September, that he was frustrated, replying “no comment” when asked about what he’d been told about his role.
Kidd-Gilchrist was never much of an offensive player. But there was a time when Clifford could sic him on anyone from a point guard to a power forward defensively. He was fierce on the court and classy off it. I hope the Mavs have use for him.
It's no secret that the Mavs spent the NBA Trade Deadline searching for help with perimeter defense on the wing, with that search nearly landing them Danny Green of the Los Angeles Lakers in a three-way deal that didn't quite come together. It is also no secret that Dallas explored the idea of acquiring the 6-7 Kidd-Gilchrist, who was the No. 2 overall pick out of Kentucky in the 2012 NBA Draft but has yet to fulfill that promise.
Kidd-Gilchrist is a big wing/forward combo player who is a solid defender (he has an individual defensive rating of 95.0 this season with the Hornets — albeit, he’s only played in 12 games so far). The downside with MKG, however, is that he's a liability on the offensive end, averaging four points in 13 minutes per game, while shooting just 34 percent from the field and 29 percent from deep.
By not giving up anything in trade for MKG (or anybody else), Dallas was able to keep together its "great core,'' as owner Mark Cuban tells DallasBasketball.com. Now comes the possibility of transforming into a "Fallen Angel'' who can after seven less-than-fruitful seasons possibly reinvent himself outside of Charlotte.
The Mavs did have to release Ryan Broekhoff, a locker-room favorite, t make room. From Broekhoff:
"Been a pleasure,'' he wrote. "Thank you to the Dallas Mavs for the opportunity. Thank you to the fans for all your support. Thank you coaches who have helped guide me and a special thank you to all my teammates. Enjoyed everyday.''
For his career, Kidd-Gilchrist is averaging 8.6 points and 5.5 rebounds while shooting 47.5 percent. His best season came during the 2014-15 campaign when he averaged 10.7 points and 6.4 rebounds on 54.1-percent shooting.
Kidd-Gilchrist is 26. Worth noting is the fact that Dallas' other deadline-time pickup was 7-footer Willie Cauley-Stein, also from Kentucky, also 26, also a former high-first-rounder (WCS was the No. 6 pick in 2016) and also a guy trying to rebuild a basketball rep in Dallas that can very much start with, yes, you guessed it, more "sic 'em.''