CHARLOTTE — After spending hours considering trade offers, the Charlotte Bobcats used the No. 2 overall pick in Thursdays NBA draft to select Kentucky small forward Michael Kidd-Gilchrist.
That came after the New Orleans Hornets selected Kidd-Gilchrists college teammate, Anthony Davis, first overall. This was the first time in NBA history the first two picks came from the same school.
Kidd-Gilchrist (6-foot-7 and 232 pounds) is known as an intense defender, somewhat similar to former Bobcat Gerald Wallace. However, hes limited as a jump-shooter and ball-handler for the small forward position.
At the draft in Newark, N.J., Kidd-Gilchrist said he has leadership qualities that can help a team coming off a 7-59 season.
I did it this year (at Kentucky). So I mean its going to be a challenge at first. But Im ready to lead the team, he said.
Im just so happy right now, man. And Im blessed. Im blessed.
Apparently the Bobcats gave no advance warning to Kidd-Gilchrist that he was their man: No. I was shocked at first, he said.
Kidd-Gilchrist averaged 11.9 points, 7.4 rebounds and 0.9 blocks over 40 games in his one college season, helping the Wildcats win the national championship. He shot 49 percent from the field, mostly on drives to the rim or transition baskets.
The Bobcats were deep in trade discussions in the hours before the draft, with the Cleveland Cavaliers, among others.
The Cavs, picking fourth, were apparently looking to trade up to the second pick to select Florida shooting guard Bradley Beal. He went third to the Washington Wizards and the Cavs drafted Syracuse guard Dion Waiters fourth.
The Bobcats could have ended up with Clevelands fourth and 24th picks, but were apparently concerned with losing out on Kidd-Gilchrist.
He has a chance to play a lot as a rookie, as the Bobcats traded their starting small forward, Corey Maggette, to the Detroit Pistons on Tuesday. The Bobcats got guard Ben Gordon and a future first-round pick in that deal.
The Bobcats have no small forwards under contract. Maggettes backup was Derrick Brown, who becomes a free agent, restricted if the Bobcats choose to make him a qualifying offer.
In this reconfigured lineup, it looks like Gordon, Gerald Henderson and Kemba Walker will share the backcourt. Assuming Kidd-Gilchrist starts at small forward, power forward and center figure to be a combination of Bismack Biyombo, Tyrus Thomas and Byron Mullins.
In their discussions about trading down, the Bobcats were looking to move the remaining three seasons on Thomas contract, sources said. That would have trimmed about $26 million in guaranteed money. million season on guard Matt Carrolls contract was also discussed.
In addition to Kidd-Gilchrist, the Bobcats had the first pick of the second round, 31st overall, and chose Vanderbilts Jeffery Taylor, a 6-7 small forward.
Staff writer Andrew Carter contributed.