Stats & Info: Michael Kidd-Gilchrist

Kings draft targets: shooting and defense

June, 28, 2012
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The Sacramento Kings have needs across the board. With the No. 5 pick, will they be able to find a player to fill those needs? Here's a look at areas in which they struggled during the 2011-12 season:

SHOOTING
The Kings attempted more 3-pointers than most teams this season, but they had the second-worst 3-point percentage. They had the third-fewest points per jump shot, the second-fewest points per catch-and-shoot jumper, and the third-fewest points per jump shot off the dribble.

DEFENSE
The Kings allowed the most points and the highest field-goal percentage in the NBA this season. They played at the fastest pace in the league, so that had something to do with it, but they still allowed the third-most points per 100 possessions.

POST-UP PLAY
The Kings averaged the fourth-fewest points per post-up play this season. Only the Charlotte Bobcats, Milwaukee Bucks and Cleveland Cavaliers were less efficient in the post, where the Kings shot just 39 percent. Their primary post player was DeMarcus Cousins, but of the 18 players with at least 300 post-up plays, nobody averaged fewer points per post-up play than Cousins.

TOP DRAFT TARGETS
Based on their statistical weaknesses, the Kings could use a a good shooter who can lock up defensively.

Michael Kidd-Gilchrist, who's currently projected to go fourth to Cleveland in Chad Ford's latest mock draft, would certainly help defensively. At Kentucky, he held opponents to 30 percent shooting as an on-ball defender.

He excelled defending both the pick-and-roll and isolation plays. On those particular play types, he held opponents below 26 percent shooting. Of the 285 players who defended at least 50 pick-and-roll ball-handler plays, Kidd-Gilchrist allowed the fourth-fewest points per play.

But MKG isn't without some room for improvement himself. He shot just 25 percent on catch-and-shoot jumpers and 20 percent on jumpers off the dribble.


Statistical support for this story from NBA.com.

More history to be made in New Orleans

March, 27, 2012
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After upsets leading into the Final Four the past two seasons, this year’s event is for blue bloods only.

According to the Elias Sports Bureau, this is the first time that every national semifinalist has made at least eight prior Final Four appearances.

The only other Final Four in which each team had made more than five previous semifinal appearances was 1993. That year was the 11th appearance for North Carolina while Kansas and Kentucky were making their 10th trip and Michigan its sixth.

Rematches provide rare second chances
For the first time since 1964, the national semifinals will feature two rematches of regular-season contests.

That season, Duke avenged an early-season loss to Michigan and UCLA beat Kansas State for the second time. The Bruins beat the Blue Devils in the championship game to finish the season 30-0 as John Wooden won his first title.

Both of this year’s matchups occurred in December.

On Dec. 10, Kansas beat Ohio State 78-67 in Lawrence, handing the Buckeyes their first loss of the season. Thomas Robinson scored 21 points to lead the Jayhawks while Tyshawn Taylor dished out a career-high 13 assists.

One big difference this time around will be Jared Sullinger, who did not play in December because of back spasms. Ohio State shot just 39 percent from the floor while Kansas shot 58 percent.

Kentucky and Louisville met on New Year’s Eve in Lexington. In the first matchup between the two as top-five teams since Rick Pitino arrived in Louisville, the Wildcats won by seven points.

Michael Kidd-Gilchrist scored 24 points and pulled down 19 rebounds, becoming the first Kentucky player to have a 20-15 game against a top-five opponent in 15 seasons. Russ Smith scored a career-high 30 points off the bench for Louisville, but no starter scored in double figures.

Seeing the game from both sides
Louisville head coach Rick Pitino spent eight years at Kentucky, leading the Wildcats to three Final Fours and a national championship in 1996. His semifinal matchup with Kentucky will be just the second time that a Final Four game pits a coach against a former team. In 2008, Roy Williams and North Carolina lost to Kansas in a semifinal.

ACC left out of party
What this year’s Final Four doesn’t have is a team from the Atlantic Coast Conference. It’s just the second time since the tournament expanded in 1985 that the ACC has failed to have a Final Four team in consecutive years -- the other was 2006-07.

That makes four times in the last seven years that the ACC hasn't had a Final Four representative, matching the number of times the national semifinals were played without an ACC team in the 21 years from 1985-2005.

Championship ring redux
Looking ahead, it’s possible that the national championship game will feature two coaches who have already won a title. If Louisville and Kansas win on Saturday, Monday’s title game will be the sixth in the last 50 years between coaches with championship rings.

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