This is the third bustasports 1 on 1 debate. The way that this will work is that a question will be posed, and two bustasports writers will pick two different answers to the question, and prove why their answer is the correct one. In this case the question is “Better Prospect MKG or Barnes?”
At the bottom of the article will be a poll, where the readers can vote on “who won the debate”. The poll will determine who won the debate, between the two writers. Please vote on the poll, and feel free to voice your own opinion in the comments section.
Written by: Jacob Frankel
Has any player with those three traits and supreme athletic ability ever failed in the NBA? Of course not! In his only year in college MKG won the national championship as the second best player on a loaded Wildcats team. What happened to Harrison Barnes? He lost twice in the NCAA tournament despite having an extremely talented team. In the two losses, he shot below 40% from the field and 70% from the line. To me, that does not sound like a player coming up big when it matters.
Unlike Harrison Barnes, Michael Kidd-Gilchrist does not just score. He affects many other aspects of the game. To look at these two players’ impacts when they could not score, I calculated their rebounds, assists, steals, and blocks averages in games they scored less than 10 points and logged more than 20 minutes. Remember game seven of the 2010 finals? Kobe Bryant was having one of the worst shooting games of his career so he just started attacking the boards. Or remember game seven of the 1998 eastern conference finals? MJ and Scottie Pippen just could not get their shots to fall. They combined to grab 11 offensive rebounds. That is what great players do. When they cannot score, they find other ways to help their team:
|Michael Kidd-Gilchrist||Harrison Barnes|
Most scouts’ biggest knock on MKG is his lack of a jump shot. However, it has been shown that a jump shot can be learned. As long as a player has a great work ethic (and Kidd-Gilchrist certainly does), a jumper can be developed. How many great players have come into the league with a polished jumper?
LeBron James: Did not have a jumper.
Magic Johnson: Did not have a jumper.
Michael Jordan: Even one of Jordan’s biggest question marks was his jumper.
So why are people still worried about his jumper despite MKG’s obvious willingness to work on and improve it? Sure Harrison Barnes is a better scorer. Sure he is more polished and has more experience. Barnes, however, was not the second best player on a national champion. Barnes does not have a rep as a great teammate and constant worker. Barnes does not do all the little things to help his team win.
So if I were to bet my life on who would have the better career, I take Kidd-Gilchrist every time. Because in my book, the player with less talent but more work ethic and will to win, triumphs over the player whose three words are passive, one-dimensional, and choker.[/one_half]
Written by: Darius White
This debate is not even close. Harrison Barnes has always been and always will be a better player than MKG. Yes MKG’s, team won the national championship, but let’s be real, that was because of Anthony Davis not Gilchrist.
Best game as freshman;
Gilchrist vs Louisville 24pts 19rebs 7-16 FG, 2-4 3pt, 8-13 FT in 39 mins
Barnes vs Clemson 40pts 8rebs 12-17 FG, 6-8 3pt, 10-11 FT in 41 mis
Harrison Barnes is more fundamentally sound in almost every offensive skill except ball handling. That is a fact no basketball scout/analyst disputes. MKG may hustle more than Barnes, but that trait won’t help when teams dare him to beat them shooting the ball. MKG shot an astonishing 20% on jump shots in his one season at UK. The fact is that MKG was less skilled than Barnes coming out HS, less skilled in college, and will be less skilled in the NBA. Barnes, at this point, needs only to work hard on his ball-handling and just continue to improve his already solid offensive game. MKG will have to work on his expanding his range, coming off screens, jab steps, mid range game, post game….all things Barnes is significantly ahead in.
I know many will want to talk defense and intangibles. Will Gilchrist be a better defender, most likely. Will Barnes be a poor defender; no he will actually be a very good one. He will not guard multiple positions but as a small forward with his length and athleticism he will be very good. Barnes is also known to be extremely hard worker and excellent team first guy. Let’s not forget he hit 7 game winning or go ahead baskets in last minute of a during his college career.
The knock against Barnes and the argument used for MKG is work ethic, and tourney performance, neither is true. Here is a quote from the Creighton Coach whose son played with Barnes in high school and would have been first round pick had he come out in this draft.
Creighton coach Greg McDermott
“Harrison’s responsible for a lot of [son] Doug’s development because Doug saw in Harrison a guy with an unbelievable work ethic. And when other high school aged students were going to movies and going to football games and going to the prom, Harrison was working out. And I really believe that Doug saw in Harrison a guy that he wanted to emulate and saw the improvement and said, you know what, I think that I now know what it takes. He could listen to his dad and his high school coach, but when you see it in Harrison, the improvement he made each year of high school because of his work ethic; it was certainly impactful for Doug.”
As for that chocker label I say this, Barnes has a ‘stars confidence’. He knew in the tournament he wasn’t shooting well (BTW he had ankle injury during tournament). He knew that if he missed, if he didn’t hit the big shots he would be the goat. Yet he never shied away once. Against Ohio in OT he hit go ahead 3 and got fouled twice to go to the line. He stunk it up against Kansas in second half, but again he never passed it away at end of game, he never ducked the pressure. As MJ said;
“I’ve missed more than 9000 shots in my career. I’ve lost almost 300 games. 26 times, I’ve been trusted to take the game winning shot and missed. I’ve failed over and over and over again in my life. And that is why I succeed.”
Will they both be in the league for years? Absolutely. The difference is Barnes will be a dynamic player both offensively and defensively. With better developed ball handling he will be a more athletic version of Paul Pierce, a multiple all-star and NBA champion. MKG at best, will have a career similar to Gerald Wallace, a one time all-star……a glue man who is a jack of all trades and master of none.