Bobcats struggling but pleased with Kidd-Gilchrist
CHARLOTTE, N.C. (AP) — Michael Kidd-Gilchrist's jump shot has never been perfect.
Not when he was dominating the AAU circuit in New Jersey or even last season while he was helping Kentucky win a national championship.
The Charlotte Bobcats selected Kidd-Gilchrist No. 2 overall in last year's draft believing they could fix the flaws in his shot, help him develop into a dominant player at the NBA level and that he could become a key building block in their foundation.
Slowly but surely, Kidd-Gilchrist is showing signs of progress, particularly in the last week.
Although the Bobcats continue to struggle — they're marred in another eight-game losing streak — Kidd-Gilchrist has been a bright spot, shooting 67 percent from the field and averaging 17 points over the last two games.
Just as important to the Bobcats, the 6-foot-7 small forward hasn't been hesitant to pull up and launch an 18-footer.
"I really feel like over the last week we've seen the Michael that we drafted," said first-year Bobcats coach Mike Dunlap. "He's a little bit clearer and a little sharper."
Dunlap attributes that to two things: Kidd-Gilchrist's ability to put two head injuries this season behind him and the 19-year-old's incredible worth ethic.
He said the rookie has spent an "inordinate amount of time" working to fix the flaws in his jumper — and it's starting the pay off.
Dunlap said the biggest modification in Kidd-Gilchrist's shot is he's releasing the ball with his fingertips instead of the palm of his hand. He also said his release point is slightly higher now, thus creating a loftier arc on his shot than when he came into the league.
Why someone never fixed the jerky motion in his jump shot when he was younger remains a mystery. When the Bobcats drafted him Dunlap felt as if it would be a three-year process for Kidd-Gilchrist to develop a more fluid release.
"I've seen guys in this league, over and over again, develop as jump shooters," Dunlap said.
Kidd-Gilchrist said his confidence has improved dramatically.
"I've been working on it daily, the night time and the morning," he said. "I feel comfortable with it now. I'm working on it still, don't get me wrong. But I'm getting more comfortable. I feel better shooting."