Charlotte Bobcats: Kemba Walker Should Be Playing, Not Sitting on the Bench

Holly MacKenzie@stackmackNBA Lead BloggerApril 13, 2012

CHARLOTTE, NC - FEBRUARY 10:  Kemba Walker #1 of the Charlotte Bobcats and teammates Bismack Biyombo #0 walk down the court during their game against the Chicago Bulls at Time Warner Cable Arena on February 10, 2012 in Charlotte, North Carolina. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement.  (Photo by Streeter Lecka/Getty Images)
Streeter Lecka/Getty Images

The Bobcats picked up another loss last night.

They lost to the Detroit Pistons, and they lost by 24 points. That doesn't really matter, though. We're used to Charlotte losing handily. With nine games remaining, the Bobcats are sitting at seven victories. At 7-50, calling it a rough season would be a gross understatement. 

It's been a season of development. Except, when it hasn't been. Rookie Kemba Walker has been in and out of the starting lineup this year, but playing just 18 minutes in a 24-point loss—in a season that was lost long ago—isn't how things should be going.

Barring any undisclosed injury, Walker needs to be playing more, period.

Whether he's in the starting five or coming in off of the bench, the ninth pick in last year's draft needs this time to develop. He deserves the minutes to get used to playing against NBA opponents, to learn how to run an NBA team.

Walker started three games ago, in a loss to the Wizards. Again, the final results don't matter. He posted a statline of 16 points, seven rebounds and seven assists. The next game, he came off of the bench and played 24 minutes. He scored 20 points on 9-for-13 shooting. He was rewarded with 18 minutes in that ugly loss to the Pistons.

What gives?

Maybe its tank city in Charlotte, but they're missing out on a huge opportunity for growth. Instead of taking advantage of a stretch where the outcome doesn't matter, they're keeping future talent on the bench. The Bobcats have been in a weird spot all year, playing in a lockout-shortened schedule without the expectation to make the postseason. It's rare that the wins and losses column doesn't matter. It's never a good thing when that's the position you're in.

It's rarer still when a franchise buries talent. While I don't want to know that Walker has been battling through any sort of injury, I would like to understand why he's only getting 18 minutes in a meaningless blowout (yes, there are meaningless games in the NBA), when he could be honing his skills so he's able to be a part of a better Bobcats team in the future.