Monday, October 15, 2012

Alumni Profile: Kemba Walker

Looking Back: There was talk swirling around the Charlotte Bobcats’ decision to pick Kemba Walker so high in the draft.  Detractors said he was to small, he wasn’t a true point guard, and that his game wouldn’t translate over to the NBA.  He soon put those doubts on the back burner with his play as soon as he got on the court.  He showed that he could score at the next level and that he was not only a scoring guard, but had the court vision to be a floor general.  He didn’t take the NBA by storm, but showed that he did belong.  With the shortened season, Walker had a slow start and played the sixth man for much of the season, which was a role he was accustomed to at UConn, but he soon found himself in the starting lineup where his team struggled to win games, ending the season with the NBA's all time losing percentage of any franchise ever.

The Good:  He has a tremendous first step and cross over.  He also utilizes the pick and roll extremely well and can get to the rim.  Like many UConn fans know, Walker loves to play isolation and has a variety of moves from his step-back to the aforementioned cross over.  He is also great at playing through contact and getting the ball up for an and-one.   There is no other UConn Alumni that possesses the will to win like Walker and that was one of the major reasons to why he was picked so highly over other point guards in the draft.

The Bad:  He doesn’t have a consistent jumper that will keep his defender honest.  Until he does, teams will game plan to keep him out of the lanes and force him into deep shots.  He also needs to do a better job of getting others involved and limit his turnovers.  His size will always be a knock against him and other guards will have no problem getting a shot over him.

Looking Ahead: With a full training camp and summer league, Walker should be a much better player heading into the season.  Hopefully he avoids the sophomore slump and with a more Kemba  friendly offense, he should get more opportunities to showcase his skills.  He’ll have another UConn alumni beside him in Ben Gordon which should give Kemba the space he needs to find driving lanes.

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