We all dream of rookies coming into a program and immediately raising their team to the next level, but the adjustment is rarely a smooth one.
It's not difficult to see Charlotte Bobcats rookie guard Kemba Walker is having trouble meeting the challenges at this level of basketball, as his play has been quite inconsistent, having a good game every three games or so.
Obviously the NBA is a much tougher brand of basketball than the Big East. The players are bigger. They are faster. They are stronger. It's hard for most players to take that change in stride without some bumps along the way.
Still there are some very real issues with Kemba's early play: his range and the pick and roll.
The pick and roll is simply one of the most essential parts to any point guard's arsenal. It's not very complicate, creates a ton of options with only two players and if run well, can create easy, successful scoring opportunities while continually forcing the opponents to second-guess their defense.
The issue here is how inefficient Kemba is on these situations. According to Synergy, Kemba scores 0.69 points per pick and roll possession, which is pretty poor. Most of the time, Walker takes it on his own, keeping the ball and creating his own shot. If he was a better shooter, this would be fine. But he's just not shooting well. In fact, Walker's shooting 28.6% on the pick and roll. I can understand taking the shot if DeSagana is the roll man, but D.J. White, Boris Diaw and Byron Mullens are all pretty adept with the pick and roll (PPPs of 1.83, 1.25, and 1.27, respectively). Walker seems to miss the roll man completely most times.
Kemba is so very fleet of foot, he has the ability to create his own shot extremely well. And yet, he relies on it entirely too much. Per 82games.com, 46 percent of Walker's shots come in the first 10 seconds of the shot clock. What results is a heavy shot distribution in long twos and threes (5.3 out of 9.3 FGA/game come from 16 feet out or farther). Further, plays don't have the time to develop. He's creating decent opportunities for shots, but he just doesn't have the consistency and range to knock them down.
Like Kemba, we should have patience too. It will take time for him to develop as an NBA player, figuring out the in and outs of the game. He's had many flashes showing he can be very good in this league; he just needs to iron out the kinks.