Heels in the Pro’s: Was Passing Up On Harrison Barnes for Michael Kidd-Gilchrist A Smart Move?

There is an old saying that goes like this, “Hindsight is 20/20.” In Michael Jordan‘s case, hindsight could be 40/40 because Harrison Barnes‘ jersey number is 40, and some believe that he should have been a Bobcat. I cannot fault MJ for drafting Michael Kidd-Gilchrist, though. MKG played for the 2012 National Champions, the Kentucky Wildcats. Although one of MKG’s teammates (Anthony Davis) was the National Player of the Year, MKG looked like the best player on the Wildcats’ roster in some games; especially the game against the North Carolina Tar Heels last season. MKG and Barnes were matched up against each other. Kentucky beat North Carolina 73-72. MKG finished the game with 17 points and 11 rebounds. Barnes stat line was 14 points and 2 rebounds. Although Barnes was 5-12 from the field, he was also 4-5 from three-point range. This game featured 11 players who were drafted in the 2012 NBA Draft.

December 21, 2012; Oakland, CA, USA; Golden State Warriors small forward Harrison Barnes (40) drives to the basket against Charlotte Bobcats small forward Michael Kidd-Gilchrist (14) during the third quarter at ORACLE Arena. The Warriors defeated the Bobcats 115-100. Mandatory Credit: Kyle Terada-USA TODAY Sports

I was torn between MKG and Barnes being drafted by the Charlotte Bobcats. However, the Golden State Warriors are one of the biggest surprises and hottest teams in the NBA. Barnes is one reason why Golden State is peaking this season; however, he is not the main reason. In order to compare each player, we have to look at their current statistics. MKG is averaging 9.7 points, 5.9 rebounds, and 1.6 assists with a PER of 15.08. MKG maintains a 47.3% field goal percentage, 25% three-point field goal percentage, and a 75.9% free throw percentage. Barnes is averaging 9 points, 4.3 rebounds, and 1.6 assists with a PER of 11.39. Barnes has a 43% field goal percentage, 35.9% three-point field, and a 73.2% free throw percentage. Although their statistics resemble each other very closely, the PER is what sets these two players apart.

The PER, or player efficiency rating, created by ESPN‘s John Hollinger, represents a player’s statistical per-minute performance. Based on Hollinger’s findings, a pretty good player has a PER of 15. Someone battling for minutes has a PER of 11. After researching each player’s statistics, we could presume (based on Hollinger’s logic and theory) that MKG is a lot better than Barnes. However, this is subjective rather than objective. Although numbers don’t lie, the PER is skewed in my opinion because it does not factor intangibles. For instance, Barnes plays alongside Stephen Curry who is an NBA all-star this season whereas MKG plays alongside Kemba Walker, who should have been an NBA all-star. Golden State is a running team, whereas Charlotte is not. In retrospect, I am unsure as to whether MJ should have gone with MKG. I will say that I am satisfied with MKG in Charlotte, and I am happy for Barnes’ success at Golden State. I guess that we can conclude this discussion with another old saying, “Time will tell.”

Topics: Charlotte Bobcats, Golden State Warriors, Harrison Barnes, Michael Kidd-Gilchrist, North Carolina Tar Heels

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  • jrock2310

    MKG doesnt have to share the ball like HB does. HB actually plays on a good team which predicates that he share the ball w/ guys like – curry, bogut, lee, thompson, jefferson, jack. not to mention brandon rush when he returns from injury. the cats are just a train wreck… so it doesnt really matter who’s taking the shots there because it wont amount to anything until they get some structure in that organization. it starts at the the top. which is why GS has been so successful to this point.

    • http://twitter.com/HorranCameron Horran Cameron

      Great response! However, there have been situations where one player changed the identity of a franchise. LeBron James did for Cleveland, that is; while he was there. Kyrie Irving is gradually doing the same for the Cleveland Cavaliers. Tim Duncan and KG are two more examples. With the Bobcats, you hit it right on the nail…

      • jrock2310

        i agree one player can make that difference. but we can prob also agree that MKG is not one of those players.