Kemba Walker is a polarizing figure for a lot of NBA fans. The point guard’s biggest moment in basketball is still hitting a game winning shot in the Big East Tournament in 2011.
It seems strange that a player who has been to the postseason twice doesn’t have a big professional moment that eclipses his college heroics. Such is life for a player that was the Most Outsanding Player of the NCAA Final Four that year.
Charlotte has not been the stable franchise that it is now during Walker’s tenure there. But, life as a Hornet has been way better than life as a Bobcat for the point guard. This year, it looks like he will lead the team to a respectable record again and potentially the postseason.
Here’s the three factor that will allow Buzz City’s point guard to make his All-Star debut:
The former Bobcat is 26-years-old and entering his prime. A number of the rough edges of his game are starting to round out. Through seven games, he is averaging career highs in points at 23 per game, field goal percentage at 46 and three-point percentage at 43.
These are all jumps from his previously increased production last season. The former Husky could always do damage in the pick and roll. But in the past, teams could afford to go under every screen and dare him to shoot.
With his improved stroke, the Bronx native is now forcing defences to honor his shot. That capability makes his command of the pick and roll even more frightening. Now, it’s a matter of picking the less poisonous option instead of just leaving the ballhandler.
Pace and Feel for the Game
Walker has been in the top five in points per game during this early season and that has been surprising in a league with so many talents who can put the ball in the basket. But, the raw scoring doesn’t tell the whole story of his game.
The days of bombing away on a bad Charlotte squad are over for the point guard. He makes full use of players like Nicolas Batum and Cody Zeller in a way he was unable to with some of his earlier teammates.
For example, against the Raptors, it would have been easy for the UCONN product to just start gunning shots with the rest of the team sagging. But he kept his teammates involved although he had the hot scoring hand.
He ended the game with 40 points but more importantly with 10 rebounds and 6 assists. Keeping the ball moving shows signs of growth for a guard who was perceived as a bit of a chucker.
Keeping the Buzz Going
Charlotte currently sits at 6-2 and that is a great start for them. However, they are going to have to keep winning if they want their lead man to represent them in New Orleans this year.
The club’s dismal record is a big reason why Walker couldn’t gain traction during his All-Star bid last year. The difference between players like Isaiah Thomas and Kemba are largely based on semantics.
Racking up the wins means that you are able to control your own destiny. In the end, that goes a long way towards deciding who is in and who is out come February.