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Kentucky’s Michael Kidd-Gilchrist and Darius Miller to Switch Spots: Fans’ Take
In case you missed this, Kentucky coach John Calipari is on record that he sees Michael Kidd-Gilchrist (MKG) as a starter.
Here is the money quote*:
"I would say, looking at today, he's a starter because you have to have him start the game," Calipari said of UK's early 11-4 deficit. "Can't start the game like we did today."
*Source - the Lexington Herald-Leader
This is no surprise to anyone. MKG was one of the best players in the nation coming out of high school. He has it all. He brings energy and has more heart and desire than any player on the team. Coach Cal can't ignore that. MKG and Terrence Jones are the two most important players they have.
The player most likely to be sent to the bench is senior forward Darius Miller. Everyone loves Miller. He is from Kentucky and is a lifelong Wildcat fan*. He won the coveted Mr. Kentucky Basketball award back in 2008. Kentucky may not have even made it to the Final Four last season if it weren't for Miller's stellar play in the first game against Princeton. In the first half of that game, the freshmen on the team seemingly had to shake the jitters while Miller scored 15 points on five-of-eight shooting to get the team on track. He finished with 17 points which led the team.
*Check out this picture of a young Miller and Tony Delk.
Miller played well in the Wildcat's first game against Transylvania. He finished with 10 points, had five boards, four assists, a block, and a steal. He is one of those guys every team needs. He scores when he needs to, can hit open three pointers, grabs rebounds, plays defense, and finds open teammates. These are things that all good basketball players are supposed to do.
However, even with all of Miller's skills, it is clear who the better player is from top to bottom. Compared to MKG, Miller might be a better shooter from the perimeter and may see more action against tight zones but MKG does everything else better. Against Transylvania, MKG scored more than Miller but the rest of his stats were similar. However, Miller disappeared at times while Kidd-Gilchrist demonstrated that he has a non-stop motor and is a superstar in the making.
Don't weep for Miller, though. He will play plenty of minutes backing up at guard or forward. In the end, it won't matter who starts. There are eight guys who will get on the floor in Cal's rotation. Obviously, the starters will get the bulk of the minutes on the team. The starting five will most likely be Marquis Teague, Lamb, Kidd-Gilchrist, Jones, and Anthony Davis. The key bench players will be Miller, Kyle Wiltjer, and Eloy Vargas*.
*Don't get too attached to these guys. All five starters will enter the 2012 draft according to some mock drafts like this one which projects all five to be selected in the first round. Miller and Vargas will be gone as well.
The next game is Friday, November 11th against Marist. We'll know more then.
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