Players such as Rajon Rondo, Tayshaun Prince, and Jodie Meeks finding success with their respective teams is just another valid point to entice freshmen into declaring early for the NBA. But where does that leave guys like John Wall and Michael Kidd-Gilchrist? Just in the past four NBA drafts, Kentucky has sent 16 players to the NBA. Wall and Kidd-Gilchrist were seen as game-changers during their lone year in college.
Wall and MKG leaving early was a no-brainer. But unlike other players in their draft classes (Bledsoe, Orton, Teague, Patterson) they have not found success with their teams. Yes, MKG has only been in the league for one season, but he’s stuck with the soon-to-be Charlotte Hornets. For years, they have had individually talented players in and out of Charlotte. But no chemistry has formed between them, leading to some of the worst overall records in the league. With the addition of Al Jefferson and a full year in the NBA, MKG is optimistic and ready for a change this year. “I’m excited to play with Al,” Kidd-Gilchrist said. “I don’t really know [how my game will work alongside his] yet, but I’m excited to play with him. I think everybody [in Charlotte] is.” MKG believes that he can put up more consistent numbers in this upcoming season. “I wasn’t comfortable yet. I’m going to do a lot more this year because I’m a lot more comfortable. I’m not a rookie anymore.”
John Wall has been in the NBA three full seasons, and there is much speculation that this could be his last year in the NBA. But Wall says otherwise: “I love the way my organization — the GM, owner, president, coaching staff, all of those guys upstairs — have done a great job building the team,” Wall said. “My job is just to go out there, play on the court, help the team win and make the city fall in love with us again. That’s my job.” Only having played half of last season, Wall still put up impressive numbers: 20.7 points, 4.5 boards, 7.8 assists and 1.5 steals. With one more season in Washington, Wall believes that the Wizards have the pieces in place to win. “I think we can be a good team and I think we can make the playoffs,” Wall said. “We just have to be healthy. That’s the main thing for us. We’ve got to be healthy and we’ve got to get off to a good start. We don’t want to start off behind. We need to come in healthy and have everyone working to get better.”