Update: According to a tweet by Rick Bonnell, Kemba Walker will start tonight with no minute restrictions.
It's been seven games since Kemba Walker sprained his ankle against the Heat on a fastbreak. During that span the Bobcats went 4-3. The seven-game span had highlight wins over the Clippers at home and against the Nuggets on the road. It also featured a couple stinkers against the Suns and Knicks. There was also that game against the Raptors that started off as a beat down and almost turned into a huge choke job. So life without Walker has had its ups and downs.
Without Kemba the team itself has played fairly solid, averaging 6.7 made threes per 100 possessions and 101.4 points per 100 possessions. On the surface it looks like the team played good offense without Walker. However if we isolate it down to individuals, Ramon Sessions struggled greatly while Walker was injured. Sessions had an effective field goal percentage (more commonly known as eFG%) of 38 percent. Sessions didn't fair much better in True Shooting percentage at 49.1 percent. As we can see Sessions was highly inefficient in his time on the floor.
With Walker coming back what will be interesting to see is how the lineups will fair. Anthony Tolliver and Jannero Pargo have found themselves with more minutes as of late and you can make a case that both have had strong moments. We'll have to see what Steve Clifford chooses to do with the rotation now that Walker's 35 minutes per game is returning.
I think it's safe to say that the Bobcats will be better off with Walker back. While the team was able to float around while he was gone, Walker makes the team better. Walker is a huge part of the offense and while he was out many player's roles had to change, some for worse and some for better. Pargo stepped up and played better than expected, but one can't help but wonder how much longer it would be before his shooting regressed back to his career average.
Walker's return will bring back some normalcy in the rotation and add another scoring punch, which should be interesting to see how his return will come into the fold with Al Jefferson's incendiary scoring trend (Suns game aside) leading the Bobcats lately.