Kemba Walker is an American male professional basketball player for the Oklahoma City Thunder. He was selected ninth overall in the draft by the Charlotte Bobcats. He also grew up in The Bronx, New York City. A strong point forward, Walker is a good defender, rebounder, and shot blocker.
Injuries have limited Walker to just 21 games over the course of his career. However, he has produced for his team, averaging 14.5 points, 3.5 assists, and a steal per game. He has totaled 4 seasons in the NBA with the Bulls, including one season with the Orlando Magic. Among NBA players, only three players have accumulated as many playoff points (averaging 14.5 points, 3.5 assists, and a steal per game) as Walker has. As a result, he has been named to the All-NBA Second Team once.
Walker enters the month of December having compiled a career high in assists (probably the most important statistic in the NBA). He has also established career highs in points, rebounds, blocks, turnovers, and steals. This leaves him well on his way to securing the top scoring slot on the All-Star team this season. Even with such high individual statistics, however, Walker has often been unable to produce meaningful numbers on the court. His two most noteworthy games this season came against the defensively-challenged New York Nets and the injury plagued Orlando Magic.
On the night of Christmas Eve, the Charlotte Bobcats took on the defending Eastern Conference champion Miami Heat. Despite a strong defensive effort, the Bobcats were unable to come out with a victory, falling to the Heat by a score of 80-69. Chris Paul provided the bench spark that was needed for the offense of the shorthanded Bobcats, scoring a career-high 16 points and grabbing 7 rebounds to help his team get back on track. However, it was Kemba Walker who really brought the Heat back from their two game losing streak, putting up a game scoring spree to seal the victory for the Bobcats. Chris Paul was the lone bright spot on the night, posting a career-high 21 points on a nifty jumper, as well as grabbing 4 rebounds and dishing out three assists.
It was a great night for Walker as he was named the NBA's Most Valuable Player for the second time. Although he didn't receive the trophy in Toronto, where he is originally from, he did win the award in Charlotte. This is probably a more fitting honor considering how consistent he has been all year. The entire starting five and bench are pretty solid, led by newly acquired point guard Greivaun “The Kid” Cavil and returning players Al Harrington and Thabo Sefolosha. It also helps that Al Harrington is now healthy after suffering an injury early in the season which may have cost him the entire season.
According to the Charlotte newspaper the All-Star Breakdown Kemba underwent arthroscopic knee surgery in November of last year to fix what he deemed as a minor problem. He said at the time that he would miss eight weeks of the regular season. The knee issue was not serious but instead of going back to the Canadian basketball league, where he had been playing for most of his life, he decided to take off six months to rehabilitate. He sat out the entire postseason and in the off-season but is expected to be ready for the start of the 2020-21 season. He is listed as a guard, but should be comfortable playing the position if given the chance.
Kemba is in good hands though. The Hornets acquired him from Minnesota for Eric Brewer and cash considerations. Brewer is a very good defender who will provide great rebounding, interior scoring and the rebound position on offense for the Charlotte Bobcats. The return of Al Harrington makes this deal even sweeter. The Charlotte Bobcats are loaded with young talent but no real star player to really take the burden off of Kemba.
He'll be missed, of course, but what the playoffs could offer is a chance to prove himself against some of the better competition in the NBA. If he can make the transition to the big east and add that all-around game to his arsenal then he has a chance to be one of the better guards in the league. He's never been able to average more than 20 points per game in his career and even in his prime, appeared to lose some of his touch around the three-point line. Injuries are always a concern, but it appears that Kemba's career will be built around the skills of his fellow big east players rather than his shooting.