Another day, another 18-year-old that doesn’t act like one and barely looks like one.
The Wizards hosted Kentucky small forward Michael Kidd-Gilchrist in a solo workout on Friday morning, a session that finished up before reporters could get a glimpse of anything – pretty much the opposite of Bradley Beal’s workout on Thursday.
The comparisons are sure to continue with Beal as Kidd-Gilchrist could be standing side-by-side with his former SEC rival when the Wizards go on the clock at the NBA Draft on June 28. Thomas Robinson, who worked out on Wednesday, is thought by many to be Charlotte’s preferred choice with the No. 2 pick, which could leave Washington with a potentially difficult choice to make. (I’ve argued that they have to weigh Harrison Barnes, too.)
Like Beal, Kidd-Gilchrist carries himself with a confidence and ease beyond his age. He doesn’t turn 19 until September - he's the youngest player in the draft - but he fully expects to make the same kind of impact in whatever NBA locker room he ends up as he did at Kentucky. On the court, he was the engine that never stalled for the Wildcats no matter the circumstances. Averaging 11.9 points and 7.4 rebounds, Kidd-Gilchrist willed Kentucky to victory when his teammates faltered, even if it didn’t happen often en route to winning the NCAA championship.
Off the court, Kidd-Gilchrist was the organizer of “The Breakfast Club,” a morning workout group, and he sees no reason why he can’t make the same kind of immediate impression with pros older and far more experience than him.
“I mean, of course,” Kidd-Gilchrist said. “I’m a leader so of course I want to do it. Ain’t no question.”
He had a similar lack of fear talking about fixing his jump shot – “I think it’s everything in general,” he said – which matched his ease with handling a stutter that is only awkward for some reporters who are talking to him for the first time and aren’t familiar with an issue he deals with all the time.
Kidd-Gilchrist has also been asked repeatedly about the chance to be teammates with John Wall, a pairing that would ignite the Kentucky fan base around Washington for certain.
“He’s a mentor to me now,” Kidd-Gilchrist said. “I like John Wall, we going to see how it turns out.”
If the Wizards draft him, it will say a lot about what they did, or didn't get out of Chris Singleton since drafting him last year. It could also offer a hint of where Washington may be headed in free agency, knowing that Kidd-Gilchrist may not be the immediate answer for more scoring on the wing, like Beal or Barnes would be expected to bring.
For now, like Beal, Kidd-Gilchrist also has workouts planned with Charlotte and Cleveland.