Five Things We Learned About The Charlotte Hornets

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Mar 25, 2015; Charlotte, NC, USA; Charlotte Hornets forward Michael Kidd-Gilchrist (14) in a time out during the second half of the game against the Brooklyn Nets at Time Warner Cable Arena. Nets win 91-88. Mandatory Credit: Sam Sharpe-USA TODAY Sports

Michael Kidd-Gilchrist grew up this season. He found his voice, and he found his game. Kidd-Gilchrist decided to focus on the things he was good at it, and not bother with the rest.

He stopped taking three point shots, as MKG has not even attempted a three point field goal the entire season. He is scoring more, and shooting a respectable percentage from mid-range.

Last year, Kidd-Gilchrist shot just 15.4% from between 10-16 feet, while over 16 feet he hit just 30.8% of his attempts. In the 2014-15 season, he is shooting 50% from 10-16 feet and 37.1% from greater than 16 feet.

Those are impressive jumps, and evidence of the work Kidd-Gilchrist is putting in during the off-season. Even more impressive is that his rebounds per-36 minutes has increased from 7.8 to 9.4 while he is fouling about one less time per game.

It is all part of the master plan for the Charlotte Hornets forward, who claimed earlier that he wanted to be the “best defender the league has ever seen”.

He knows that he is not Stephen Curry or James Harden. He does not have their shooting gifts. He can get better on offense, but his true talent lies on the other end of the court.

In the article I linked to above, I put Kidd-Gilchrist’s ceiling as the next Scottie Pippen. A long, rangy defender with good enough offense and exceptional on-court leadership.

The leadership is already there. Listen to this segment from a game earlier this season when Kidd-Gilchrist wore a microphone.

That is the voice of a man you want on your team. Someone his teammates trust and respect. It is no coincidence that without MKG in the line-up, the Charlotte Hornets have been mostly terrible.

Read the stats this article compiled about Kidd-Gilchrist’s worth to the team:

"** Kidd-Gilchrist, 21, ranks first among wing players in defensive rebound percentage. ** The Hornets are 5-15 when he misses games, but 28-28 when MKG takes the court. ** The Hornets are plus-247 points above the opposition when Kidd-Gilchrist enters game action. ** Per 100 possessions, when MKG takes the court, the Hornets are 13.1 points better than their nightly foes. ** When defended by MKG, opponents are shooting just 31.3 percent in catch-and-shoot situations."

That is impressive. Going into the year, some analysts were referring to Kidd-Gilchrist as a bust, but clearly he is one of the building blocks of the future for this team.