NBA Draft: Harrison Barnes over Michael Kidd-Gilchrist? (Spoiler: NO)

I preface this post by saying that it is merely a response to the argument that Harrison Barnes is better for the Cavaliers than Michael Kidd-Gilchrist. Someone brought it up and a Cavs writer for the Bleacher Report makes his case in this article. I'm just gonna walk you through the piece and breakdown why this analysis is, well, wrong.

Alright, so they start by saying that MKG is an appealing prospect for the Cavaliers and then list their three reasons:

One, he’s good (and nearly every mock draft has him rated as the No. 2 prospect); two, he’s by far the youngest player in this draft class—he won’t turn 19 for another five months; and three, he and Kyrie Irving went to the same high school.

Uh, sure. Those are good things about him..but those aren't the reasons that he's a top prospect. We're not looking at him and going "hey he went to school with Kyrie! let's draft him! they'll create superpowers if they are reunited." Also, being the youngest in the draft isn't even necessarily a positive thing, right? Right off the bat, it just oversimplifies why MKG is so highly rated in the first place.

With Barnes, they’re building, and with Gilchrist they’re simply adding; by adding I mean they would be adding talent. More often than not, this doesn’t warrant the best of outcomes. (See the Minnesota Timberwolves.)

What the fuck does that mean? They are adding a better talent at the same position? They are getting a guy who is more well-rounded and plays harder and has higher upside. What do the Minnesota Timberwolves have to do with anything? This doesn't make any sense. I guess what he's trying to say is that at a certain point, you can't just take BPA. But that only applies if there is a guy who already plays the same position. MKG is a SF. Barnes is a SF. MKG is a better SF prospect. Not sure what's wrong with that line of "adding talent".

At 6’7" Gilchrist is a wingman who is an average perimeter shooter. (Subliminal message: Barnes is a terrific shooter who will benefit from the extended NBA three-point line.) He shot 25 percent from three-point land in 51 attempts in his freshman year. At Kentucky he mostly feasted on fast break points (an area he’s terrific in) and using his quick first step to get around smaller, slower college defenders to get to the basket for easy buckets.

First of all, if we're citing MKG's college stats, let's cite Barnes' too, shall we? He shot 35.8% from behind the arc and just 44% from the field overall. For a supposedly terrific shooter, he didn't shoot all that well in college either. And neither did Bradley Beal. It's almost like there's more to scouting than college numbers, or something. Furthermore, what's this logic that MKG just feasted on slower opponents and got to the rim easily? How is that a bad thing? How is it a negative aspect that he got to the rim and is fantastic in the open court? Doesn't Kyrie Irving need a running mate more than he needs a spot-up shooter? Isn't Harrison Barnes playing against the same slower opponents? Didn't Kyrie Irving feast of those slow college defenders? Man, it sucks that Kyrie's ability to get to the rim didn't translate to the NBA game...

Although he averaged 7.6 rebounds per game, he’s not the ideal rebounder Barnes is. In fact, we’ve actually overrated that aspect of Gilchrist’s game. Heck, we may have overrated Gilchrist altogether. He benefited a ton from playing with Anthony Davis and Terrence Jones. On the glass, they drew a ton of attention from opposing teams. Teams would often have to box out with an extra man, leaving Gilchrist the odd man out and free to do whatever. This also helped him on the offensive end too.

Because Harrison Barnes didn't have John Henson and Tyler Zeller on the glass? Oh okay. But he has a good point, MKG was able to get free and rebound well because he had good rebounders on his team, he won't have those in Clevela-- OH WAIT WE HAVE ANDERSON VAREJAO AND TRISTAN THOMPSON.

I can’t conclude without touching on Michael Kidd-Gilchrist’s high school ties to Kyrie Irving. As mentioned, this is perceived to be beneficial—an incentive for the Cavs to take him with their pick. However, maybe it’s just me, but the whole high school affiliation thing has "potential alpha dog complications" written all over it. As does the collective youth and inexperience of both players.


MKG said Kyrie Irving was his best friend. How would having previous chemistry HURT the team?

If we’re going to talk about former school ties then we should be looking more closely at Barnes. You know, the former Tar Heel. A Duke/UNC complex is 10 times more intriguing than what Gilchrist would bring to the table, isn’t it? It would be a paradox unlike anything we’ve seen in the NBA., and honestly, that’s why it would work. I mean, it’s not as if Irving bleeds white and blue; he played 11 games there. Plus, the Cavs would slither their way into an untapped Charlotte market that (thanks to the Bobcats) does not have a professional basketball team. Chris Grant, please give the kind people down in North Carolina something to root for. Hell, give us all something to root for, it’s not everyday you get the chance to finally unite the people who represent one of sports biggest, most heated rivals.

Yeah, because two kids that went to rival colleges will have better chemistry than two kids that have played together in high school and are apparently good friends. That makes sense. (No, it doesn't.)

Ultimately, there are reasons to like both players. But there are several more reasons to like Michael Kidd-Gilchrist. The fit works, he's a better athlete, and he's a better defender. If MKG is available with at the fourth overall pick? The Cavaliers ought to SPRINT to the podium and hand in their draft card.

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