Kemba Walker Won’t Be All-Star, But Deserves Recognition
It’s not a stretch to say that Charlotte Bobcats guard Kemba Walker won’t be making the Eastern Conference All-Star team this season. The logic behind it is simple. His team is awful at 10-31 this year. He’s only a second-year player in the NBA. So on and so forth.
But even if he’s not an All-Star, Walker has earned the right to be recognized and possibly included in the conversation regarding the All-Star reserves.
Walker is hands down the Bobcats most vital piece. He logs the most minutes for Charlotte, is the catalyst for their offense and is emerging as the leading voice on their young team.
This season, he’s averaging 17.9 points, 5.7 assists, 3.4 rebounds and 1.9 steals per contest. He leads the Bobcats in points, assists and steals per game. He also ranks in the top 10 in the league among point guards in all of those categories except assists, which he ranks in the top 20 in.
But possibly the most impressive statistic regarding Walker is his Player Efficiency Rating. PER is a widely used advanced metric these days that serves to calculate a players’ total contribution. Given that, it’s a relatively good measure of how well a player is playing.
Right now, Walker has a 19.55 PER. That rating puts him at 36th in the NBA, between stars like Stephen Curry and LaMarcus Aldridge. Moreover, that rating is the eighth best among point guards, ahead of guys like Rajon Rondo, Jrue Holiday and Brandon Jennings, all guys in the All-Star conversation.
In further comparison to point guards on or likely to make the East All-Star team, Walker’s numbers aren’t a far cry. Rondo was selected as a starter for the team. Though he averages substantially more assists and a few more rebounds per game, Walker averages more steals per game and outscores Rondo by 4.5 points per game in 2.3 fewer minutes played per game.
Also, in regards to Rondo’s assist numbers in comparison to Walker’s, Rondo isn’t the primary scoring option for his team like Walker is. He also has much more capable players to pass to than Walker, whose supporting cast is thing offensively.
Walker’s numbers are at an All-Star level this season. In addition, his value to his team is unreal. The Bobcats might be somewhere close to 0-41 without Walker on their team. He’s that important to them.
In their 10 wins, Walker is averaging 20.8 points, 5.4 assists, 4.9 rebounds and 2.9 steals per game. That’s not an accident. Charlotte’s success is enormously dependent on Walker’s performance. Without him, it would be a horrific sight in Charlotte.
But despite all of this, he won’t make the All-Star team this season. Even with that being the case, Walker deserves a tip of the cap for how superbly he has played this season.