The Hornets and Michael Kidd-Gilchrist are reportedly putting the finishing touches on a four-year, $52MM contract extension for the small forward. The 21-year-old out of the University of Kentucky has had an inconsistent NBA career thus far, with him struggling to improve upon his shaky outside game over the past three campaigns. But Kidd-Gilchrist has been working hard behind the scenes to improve upon that aspect of his game, according to coach Steve Clifford, who said, “He’s totally changed his shooting mechanics really more than any player I’ve ever seen. It’s increased his confidence level. His whole leadership, assertiveness on the court and his understanding of the game has come out more for his teammates as he’s gotten more confident.”
While Kidd-Gilchrist apparently has his coach’s support, the results in the stat sheet haven’t been as readily apparent. The player’s field goal percentage from the 2014/15 season was 46.5%, down from the 47.3% of his shots he connected on back in 2013/14. Of course, Clifford was likely referring to Kidd-Gilchrist’s improved shooting form, which will hopefully garner the player and team better results moving forward. The forward did manage to notch career bests in points (10.9) and rebounds last season (7.6), though his campaign was cut short thanks to an ankle injury he suffered at the end of March.
Despite his debatable offensive skills, Kidd-Gilchrist’s defensive abilities are some of the best at his position in the entire league. The Hornets were 27-28 in 2014/15 with him in the lineup and just 7-18 without him on the court. “Last year he was a really good individual defender and a very solid team defender. But now he’s much more verbal and takes much more of a lead in organizing our defense,” Clifford said of Kidd-Gilchrist. “I think he is one of the few guys in this league who has the ability to make it hard on many of the primary scorers.”
This brings me to the topic of the day: Is Michael Kidd-Gilchrist worth the $13MM annually he is set to make on his contract extension?
In today’s NBA, where outside shooting is a major focus, is a throwback type of player like Kidd-Gilchrist worth that level of financial investment? A defensive stopper like Kidd-Gilchrist can change an opponent’s strategy on a nightly basis, which is arguably just as valuable as dropping 20 points a night in the league. The other factor that needs to be considered when weighing the value of any new contract is the impending salary cap explosion that is set to occur next offseason. The economics of deals and how they are viewed are certainly going to change over the next few seasons as a result, which could potentially make $13MM per season for the young forward seem like a bargain.
What do you think? Is $13MM in line with what Kidd-Gildchrist is worth on the open market? If he were to hit unrestricted free agency, what sort of offers do you think he would draw? Take to the comments section below to weigh in with your thoughts and opinions. We look forward to what you have top say.
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