Kemba Walker is a guy that receives a lot of unfair criticism from Charlotte Hornets fans. Drafted to a horrid basketball team, Walker was asked to be the franchises sole creator on offense in both passing, and scoring. That's a lot to ask from a guy straight out of college, but every once in awhile he managed to deliver. Those scoring outputs gave fans hope that he could eventually put things together, and become a consistent scoring threat. Unfortunately, that hasn't come to fruition. Walker has a career field goal percentage of 39 percent, and that doesn't compliment his skill set very well.
Sports Illustrated recently released their "Top 100 NBA Players" list, and Walker did not make the list. He did however make their list of snubs. To put it bluntly, SI was not kind about Walker's shortcomings. They mentioned Walker's notorious ability to dribble around, pull off some crossovers, and create an open look, but then miss the shot. His lack of efficiency was the biggest mark against him considering his career as a chucker, and to be honest almost all of the critcism was deserved.
Walker has spent the majority of his career chucking for Charlotte, and he's never been that great at it either. He's only shot over 40 percent from the field once in his career, and he doesn't have the 3-point shooting ability to make up for it. He's a fine passer, and his ability to create looks for himself is solid, but it all comes back to his poor shooting, and efficiency numbers. If Walker can't find a way to make himself a better scorer, or at least a more efficient one, then the rest of his game won't really matter in the end.
Now, supporters of Walker will be quick to point out that historically his role for the Hornets has been to chuck up shots, and this is true. Ever since joining the franchise, Walker has been asked to be the sole creator in the backcourt, and their primary perimeter scorer. As a result, his numbers suffer due to him being the best option out of everybody else around him, which is a scary thought in of itself. If he was their best option then what in the world was the Hornets alternatives?
This creates a really strange conundrum for the Hornets. It's pretty clear that Walker shouldn't not be a primary option on offense, and shots should be coming from elsewhere. He would be much better suited, and it would help his efficiency as well, if he fell to a third or fourth scoring role within the offense. However, at this point should they even be focused on getting him involved in the offense at all?
Last season, the Hornets offensive rating didn't change whether Walker was on the floor, or if he was off the floor. However, when Walker was off the floor, their defensive rating went from 102.2 to 97.7. A massive improvement, and a very bad sign against Walker. Right now, he's a minus on defense, and providing no help on offense.
Things aren't looking good for Walker. He needs to become a better scorer, and justify his minutes on the floor. At the moment, the Hornets don't have any better options, but if they get a better option then Walker becomes entirely replaceable. Especially as the cap goes up in the next few seasons, and Walker's extension becomes normal money that's much easier to move in a trade.
Of course, this isn't to say that Walker can't be better. An argument can be made that the team he's playing on in the upcoming season will give him the most weapons he's had his entire career. Nicolas Batum is next to him in the backcourt, Kidd-Gilchrist is improving on offense every day, and Al Jefferson is always able to put up points down low. On top of this, he gets his favorite pick and roll partner, Cody Zeller, back for another season along with a flurry of new signings that should help out on offense.
This is the time for Walker to prove himself as a player. He may have been listed with the snubs on SI's rankings, but quite frankly he never had a shot at the list. If he wants to be considered a starting caliber point guard in the NBA then something has to get better, and soon.