|2011 NBA Draft||NBA||Drafted 9th overall by Charlotte.|
|11th December, 2011||NBA||Signed four year, $10,659,171 rookie scale contract with Charlotte. Included team options for 2013/14 and 2014/15.|
|26th October, 2012||NBA||Charlotte exercised 2013/14 team option.|
|31st October, 2013||NBA||Charlotte exercised 2014/15 team option.|
|29th October, 2014||NBA||Signed a four year, $48 million extension with Charlotte.|
|2008 - 2011||Connecticut (NCAA)|
|June 2011 - present||Charlotte Bobcats/Hornets (NBA)|
June 29, 2018
PG - 6’1, 184lbs - 28 years old - 7 years of experience
Aside from very minor improvements in his efficiency categories, Kemba has put together basically the same season for three years in a row now, and what a good season it is. He is the sixth highest paid Hornet (what a world), but by far the best. He is a worthy two-time All-Star, and worthy of the rare yet durable honour of being called primarily by his first name. LeBron, Melo, Michael, Kobe, Giannis, Russ, Blake, Damyean, Mengke…Kemba. [Not in that order.]
Walker put up good offensive numbers, yes, but it is the context in which he put them up that makes them stand out. He posted these numbers while playing an awful lot of minutes alongside Dwight Howard (who couldn’t find an open Kemba even if he wanted to, and he doesn’t), Marvin Williams (who offensively largely just stands there), Nic Batum (big time disappointment this year) and Michael Kidd-Gilchrist (who couldn’t hit a cow’s arse with a banjo). Aside from the valuable scoring turns of Jeremy Lamb alongside him, Kemba was often the Hornets’ only plus scorer on the court, especially from the backcourt. He had very little help. He had to do so much of it himself. And yet he remained disciplined, consistent, and at the second attempt, an All-Star.
This then puts the team in a bind. The best player on the roster is also the most tradeable asset on a team that is going nowhere, sorely in need of assets, and sorely lacks for others elsewhere. His contract expires next season, and a capped-out team with low revenues might not be able to afford him. They might not go anywhere with him, yet they will definitely go nowhere without him except backwards. With a capped-out, veteran team, backwards is generally a bad thing. So what is the right option to take?
Answer: Sell, sell, reluctantly sell. Kemba’s value will never be higher. Thank him for his time, drive him to the airport, lay on a tribute night, mean all of it wholeheartedly, but sell anyway. This guy is good; get a price that reflects that.
Player Plan: One year and $12 million remaining. Have him either traded or extended by the end of this summer. Given the unlikelihood of the latter, here we go.
June 29, 2017
PG, 6’1, 172lbs, 27 years old, 6 years of experience
Has really grown into an offensive juggernaut at the NBA level, and now needs the team to grow offensively around him. Has all the pro moves, the dribbles, the steps and the touch, and has upped his skill level to that of NBA alpha dog to go with the mindset he has always had for it. Also draws a lot of charges now, it seems, his 26 ranking third in the league and first amongst guards, even Marcus Smart (24).
Player Plan: Two years at $12 million each remaining. Keep, certainly. It is a shame however that the Plumlee-in deal followed by the Plumlee-out deal seem to have put the ky-bosh on the outside chance of cap room next summer, for this could have been used to re-negotiate and extend Walker, avoiding what could be a difficult open market for him.
June 25, 2011
Pick 9: Charlotte selects Kemba Walker to a very warm reception by the Prudential Center crowd. He takes to the stage, and immediately begins crying. Maybe kissing a hot blonde would help.
Walker might go down as the best draft pick in Bobcats franchise history, both at the time and in hindsight. I've called that way too early, but the competition for the award is not hot.
In keeping with the apparent need to embarrass draftees as soon as they are drafted, a pincer movement of Stu Scott's trivia sheet and some arcane 90's video footage shows a young Kemba Walker throwing some shapes on some stage or other. Ever eager to make strangers cringe, we shall reproduce that here now.
June 22, 2011
Kemba Walker - Walker was the best player on the team that one the national title. There's an obvious endorsement. He started out the season on via in the Maui Invitation, proving to be the best scorer in the land. He then hit a bit of a wall when defenses keyed in on him - Kemba was rather a one man show, but only because he had to be - before his young supporting cast improved sufficiently to the point where Kemba could begin to operate. And then he dominated again.
Walker started out at UConn as a passer, trying to set up guys such as Jerome Dyson and Stanley Robinson, overly deferential to players who weren't as good of scorers as he was. But he went to to embrace the role of primary scorer, arguably the nation's best. And while he did get a bit shot-happy at times, it's all a part of the curve.
Moreso than perhaps anybody in the entire draft - even Kyrie Irving - Walker can create his own shot. Utilising step-backs, a tight handle, pump fakes and his blazing speed, Walker can either get to the basket, or create the space for the jumper. He has range, finishes around the basket well for a little guy, and didn't forget how to find the open man. His size is a bit of an issue defensively, yet there as well, his speed and agility are a virtue, as are is good hands. And despite being such a huge role on the offense and such a focus for the opposing defense, Kemba was not at all turnover prone.
He could stand to be a slightly better and less streaky long range shooter, and may have to return to being more of a passer in the pros, but there's a lot to like.