We Got Kemba!


I don't think you guys know how excited I am right now. In case for whatever reason you didn't watch the draft or you haven't caught up to speed on the happenings, let me break it down really quickly.

The Bobcats traded Stephen Jackson and Shaun Livingston away (and the 19th pick), my two favorite players on the roster. Jax was the only player that resembled a leader, something the Bobcats have always lacked. In return, however, they received the 7th pick in the 2011 NBA Draft, and boy, did they have themselves a great draft.

First, the Bobcats acquired Bismack Biyombo, the raw athletic defensive monster machine thing guy that they coveted. I love me some Biyombo, but Connor Huchton already wrote a great piece on him.

And then, inexplicably, Kemba Walker dropped all the way to 9 (sparked by the Cleveland Cavaliers selecting Tristan Thompson at 4), and the Bobcats were smart enough to snatch him up. If you guys follow me on Twitter, you'll know that my two favorite guys in this draft were Kawhi Leonard and Kemba Walker. So me? Ecstatic.

Let's start with some things that can't be measured. Kemba is a winner. Kemba is a leader. Since he started playing basketball, Kemba Walker has been the leader of every team he's been on, and he's excelled in that position. From high school to winning the NCAA Championship, Kemba has won. Kemba Walker is the Charlie Sheen of basketball. Winning.

Kemba is a charming, outgoing personality. He speaks his mind, wants to have fun, and will sacrifice everything if it means winning. I know, I've said winning a lot. But really, what more can you say?

On the court, Kemba is a 6'1" point guard with incredible scoring potential. He's often knocked about his size, but has proven throughout the course of his career that he plays much bigger than his 6'1" frame should allow him to. Many players have done well at this size, notably Chris Paul, Darren Collison, Ty Lawson, and Aaron Brooks. His arms aren't exceptionally long (6'3" and change), but he's still a fantastic defender (1.9 steals per game) and doesn't get blocked very often (47 FG% on two point attempts). Oh, and guess what? He has a nearly 40" vertical leap to go along with lightning-quick speed; expect to see him throw down from time to time.

One concern surrounding Kemba Walker prior to the draft was whether or not he can play point guard in the NBA. He shoots a lot, averaging 18 shot attempts per game last year. However, people still seem to overlook his 4.5 assists. Jonathan Givony of DraftExpress says it best:

The Rice High School product was known as an unselfish playmaker earlier in his career. While his stats this season may lead some to the impression that he has gone away from that, his increased production stems from necessity more than anything. UConn cannot survive without Walker scoring in bunches.

Digging deeper into his film, there are still plenty of instances where Walker's outstanding court vision and creative passing shine through. He's capable of threading the needle to teammates rolling to the basket with bullet passes, finding open shooters on the wing, and making fundamentally-sound entry passes into the post for high percentage looks around the rim.

He should transition well into the point guard role, setting up teammates for shots while also finding his own offense. It's especially helpful that Kemba Walker will have Boris Diaw, another unselfish player, as well as the seasoned DJ Augustin to help him make plays if the task seems to much for him to handle at first.

He's a great rebounder considering his size, averaging 5.4 per game last year, good for 4th among point guards in the NCAA. This should also translate well. Like Chris Paul, Kemba sneaks into a good position to steal rebounds from other players, often jetting up the court for a transition layup. One man fast break.

The thing that most concerns me is that Kemba Walker and DJ Augustin are very similar players. DJ is a much better shooter and passer, but Kemba is a better scorer, defender and rebounder. It will be interesting to see if they can coexist, but knowing Cho, he'll deal one of them if it becomes an issue. 

The thing I hope Kemba works most on this summer? His perimeter shooting. He isn't a terrible shooter by any means, however he's somewhat inconsistent. It's the one thing that might hold him back from being truly special. If he adds a 3 point shot to his arsenal, he'll be able to blow by defenders with ease if they play him closely and drain threes if they play him to the drive.

All in all, Kemba Walker is a great pick for the Charlotte Bobcats. Rich Cho has already acquired two strong assets for the future. Quote me on this: if he's given the minutes, Kemba will get rookie of the year.

Oh, and here's a little something something to get you by:

 

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