Kemba Walker has “it”. You know, that thing that one player has that just makes them such a great NBA player. The intangibles, work effort, and all that bullcrap spewed out about half the mediocre 4-year seniors coming out of Duke, Ohio State, and Kansas every season. It’s the secrete metric nobody understands except the drunk guy at the bar that SWEARS Aaron Craft should be an NBA player.
Okay, so nobody actually knows what “it” really is which means it’s a totally subjective term that can mean whatever the user would like it to. In that case, Kemba Walker 100 percent has “it” and last night’s fourth quarter performance against the San Antonio Spurs was proof of just how much “it” he currently possesses.
Last night’s game was just the kind of national TV thriller the Charlotte Hornets needed to put themselves back in the collective mind of the common NBA fan. The Spurs are the class of the NBA, and yet there was Charlotte going back and forth with them. The execution from both sides was so great that NBA nerds everywhere couldn’t do anything, but sit there in stunned amazement at the quality of ball they were witnessing.
Then there was Kemba. Entering the fourth quarter Walker had 11 points on 4-for-10 shooting. Not one of Walker’s been scoring performances compared to how he’s played most of this season, but he hadn’t played poorly. The Spurs were pushing though, and it was gonna take a great effort from Charlotte to give the Hornets a chance at winning this game. They needed Walker to once again step up for them and step up he did.
If the “it” factor really is a thing that exists then for Walker it’s the ability to takeover in big moments. The first three quarters of the game was the Spurs vs Hornets. The fourth was the Spurs vs Kemba Walker. Everything San Antonio did was matched by Walker in spectacular fashion. Aldridge hits a couple post up moves? Walker answers with a few step backs. San Antonio supposedly puts the game away with a run of Spurs like 3-pointers? Walker responds with a 4-point play. Then there was this scoop layup.
The Vine doesn’t capture it, but this play came in transition after Walker pushed himself ahead of Spurs defense to take on the lone defender near the rim. What is even more spectacular about this play is the body control. Watch as Walker turns his body to screen off Kawhi Leonard making it impossible to block the shot without fouling.
Walker would finish the game with 26 points, nine rebounds, and seven assists. The Hornets would inevitably lose due to poor execution on some out of bounds sets at the end of the game. Walker did everything he possibly could, but once again Charlotte came up just short against a top NBA opponent. However, while the Hornets lost the game they gained a lot of credibility across the national audience with their performance. These are the kinds of games that bring in new fans and gain respect among the common fan without League Pass. It’s even better when your star player showcases himself on that stage.
“It’ is one of those terms that gets applied to a lot of players without really knowing what that means. Maybe for Walker “it” is just the embodiment of who he is as a player. Someone that worked their ass off to reach this point and gotten better every year of his career. When the Hornets needed someone to step up for them, on national TV, it was Walker that delivered. If that’s not what “it” is then we need to find a new term, because Kemba Walker has it.