Thursday, April 14, 2011
2010-2011 M.V.P: Kemba Walker
There is little doubt that Kemba Walker deserves the Most Valuable Player of the Year Award. He was UConn's top scorer, floor leader, minutes played, and was the primary focus of the offense. There were questions to his game going into the season from his jump shot to his ability to lead, but those were quickly put to rest with superb play right out of the gates in Maui. He always had a sweet stroke but his percentages never lived up to it. While he isn’t a knock down shooter from deep, he possesses the threat, added a step back mid-ranged shot, and also finished with more efficiency around the rim. He really has the total package for a point guard.
The biggest difference for him this year was his ability to slide into the two guard position. It allowed him to come off multiple screens and created miss-matches, created room to hit a jumper or follow the pick for drives into the lane. No longer could teams throw double teams or trap him. It opened up a whole other way for him to attack and he thrived.
What stood out more then his play on the court was his leadership off of it. It started right off the bat at the Husky run where Calhoun was out of town dealing with the NCAA. He stood up and addressed everyone, setting himself up as leader of this team right from the start. He never grew impatient with his team, even when he didn’t have a legitimate second scorer. He kept battling and would always be sharing advice with with all the incoming freshmen. Without his ability to usher them along, this team wouldn't of had a chance to win the championship.
His season was unlike any other in UConn history. Many of UConn's successful teams had multiple seasoned players, but this one was full of unknown and unproven freshmen. There was an enormous amount of pressure for Walker to produce each and every game and he did. While he might not be the very best to wear the jersey, he is in the conversation and that is saying a lot.
Walker will thrive with the spacing in the NBA, but his major advantage of his speed will be minimized. He’ll have to become more consistent from deep, remain aggressive and get to the line, and be that second unit energy player. He will need to show more passing and court vision to play the point, which will be the optimal position for him. There is no doubt that he can become a starter, but needs to get adjusted to the NBA. Hopefully he lands on a team with enough around him to showcase his skills.