Kemba Walker has already established himself as one of the best point guards in the NBA and his play early in the season has indicated that. He started the season by averaging nearly 30 points per game while shooting 46.5 percent from the field over his first 16 games. In addition to that, he started out extremely hot from three. He shot 38.9 percent from three on over 10 attempts per game.
However, the two time all star point guard has become a lot more human over the last few weeks. In the last 13 games, Walker is averaging 19.2 points per game and is shooting 35.1 percent from the field. After starting out so well, many viewed him as an MVP candidate (even though it was too early for that at the time). At one point he led the league in scoring, but now he has slid down into a tie for 10th place. That isn’t a bad thing, but its the rough scoring stretch that has fans concerned.
Even though he has struggled as of late, he is still money in the mid-range department. He shoots 54.8 percent from the field in that area. However, most of his jump shots come in the form of “above the break” three point attempts. He is only shooting 34.7 percent on 8.3 attempts per game in that area and he rarely shoots corner threes. In the end, going back to an attack that features a lot of mid-range jump shots and attacking the rim might help him get out of his slump.
The scheduling of games also impacts how a team performs in certain games. A perfect example of this is the game against the Los Angeles Lakers this past Saturday. It was the Hornets third game on four nights and the second night of a back to back. Naturally, the Lakers rolled into town after losing to the Houston Rockets last Thursday on the road. They were motivated to get back on track.
Meanwhile, the Hornets had just blown a 21 point lead at home to the New York Knicks in an overtime loss on Friday night. It was no coincidence (at least to me) that Kemba’s worst performance of the season came on Saturday. He had four points and shot 2-13 from the field in 25 minutes. It signified that his slump had just reached the lowest of lows.
Of course, there is the mental aspect of carrying a franchise on your back every single night. Without Kemba Walker, the Hornets have little to no chance of winning games. In the end, almost every player goes through a shooting slump in the NBA. We all know that he is still the teams most talented player and that he’ll find his way out of it.
Hopefully, that happens sooner rather than later and the upcoming game against the Cleveland Cavaliers could be the game where he gets back on track. The team will have rested for three days when Wednesday night rolls around. Kemba should be ready to roll by then and the fans should anticipate great things as usual from the captain.
Stats from nba.com