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CHARLOTTE, N.C. (AP) — The Bobcats have a new coach, a new color scheme and three new players.
Michael Jordan’s Bobcats Friday introduced rookies Michael Kidd-Gilchrist out of Kentucky and Vanderbilt’s Jeffery Taylor along with trade acquisition Ben Gordon during press conference at their arena, three players the team hopes will help turn things around on the court. They hired Mike Dunlap as head coach a week ago and changed their uniform colors and logo. The Bobcats are coming off a 7-59 season, the worst winning percentage in NBA history (.106), but are eager to put all of that behind them.
“There’s no question about it,” Bobcats president of basketball operations Rod Higgins said. “It’s a special time in our franchise, our city and our community. It’s a different time for us and as a franchise we’re looking forward to the future and not what’s in the past.”
Kidd-Gilchrist, selected No. 2 overall in the draft, is expected to be a big part of that future.
“I just want to win basketball games,” Kidd-Gilchrist, who lost just two games last season while helping the Wildcats to a national championship. “The past is the past around here.”
Added Taylor: “I couldn’t have said it better myself.”
Kidd-Gilchrist and Taylor both play small forward, although they have different strengths.
Taylor is a better shooter, while Kidd-Gilchrist is known as a very solid defender who can cover any position on the floor and also is effective in transition, which should bode well for playing in Dunlap’s up-tempo offense. Kidd-Gilchrist comes into the NBA as the youngest player in the league at a ripe age of 18.
“He’s just a kid,” said his mother Cynthia Richardson. “In reality, he should be going into his senior year of high school.”
But Kidd-Gilchrist doesn’t lack for focus and said he relishes the task ahead.
“This is my job now so I have to go do it,” said Kidd-Gilchrist, who averaged 11.9 points per game in his only season at Kentucky before declaring himself eligible for the draft.
Kidd-Gilchrist comes to area of the country known largely for a lighter shade of blue than he wore in college — Tar Heel blue, which was worn by Jordan when he played at North Carolina. Kidd-Gilchrist said he didn’t know much about the Tar Heels, but drew laughs from crowed when he said, “I won a national championship, that’s all I know.”