How Kemba Walker, Al Jefferson Pairing Can Thrive with Charlotte Bobcats

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How Kemba Walker, Al Jefferson Pairing Can Thrive with Charlotte Bobcats
Kent Smith/Getty Images

The Charlotte Bobcats paired their franchise point guard, Kemba Walker, with a legitimate big man when they signed Al Jefferson to a three-year, $40.5 million deal during the summer.

According to Rick Bonnell of the Charlotte Observer, Walker helped in the recruitment of Jefferson. The duo has a chance to become the most dominant pairing in franchise history. 

Walker and Jefferson have work to do in order to build a successful relationship on the court, but in limited minutes through the preseason they are already thriving together.

 

Pick-and-roll offense

Jefferson is a dominant low-post player, scoring on a career-high 73 percent of his shots at the rim last season according to Hoopdata.com. He'll be a focal point of the offense this season, but Walker's ability to knock down long-range shots opens things up even more for Jefferson.

From Hoopdata.com, Walker shot 42 percent from 16-23 feet last season, well over the average (38 percent) from that distance.

Using the pick-and-roll offense, Walker can really succeed by taking advantage of mismatches off the dribble. Teams tend to double Jefferson in the post, meaning if Walker's man slacks off from the pick-and-roll to front Jefferson in the post or if he goes under the pick, Walker has more room to maneuver and he'll get better looks at the basket.

But, if Jefferson gets a rare one-on-one matchup, he'll likely take advantage by taking the opposition to the rim. Obviously Jefferson misses in the video above, but he rushes the shot and the clip is just a sample of how fluid the Bobcats offense can be. 

If Walker's defender comes over the top, and Jefferson is fronted by his defender with another defender rolling over to double, Charlotte can really take advantage by spreading the floor.

 

Opening things up for Cody Zeller

While defenders will key in on Jefferson in the post, the extra defender rolling over means the Bobcats can utilize spacing more efficiently this season, especially when it comes to rookie forward Cody Zeller

Zeller's game lends itself in a complementary fashion to that of Jefferson and Walker, with his ability to knock down midrange shots and finish at the rim. Zeller makes smart reads off double teams on Jefferson, and when defenders slide over to cover the center it allows Zeller to move more freely.

 

Develop long-range shooting

Jefferson admitted back in March 2012 that he needed to learn how to dish the ball back to the perimeter, according to Steve Reed from the Associated Press.

''Hey, it's taken me eight years to realize that if I pass the ball outside and guys hit open shots, it helps free me up,'' Jefferson. ''I guess better late than never.''

Already Jefferson has shown a knack for finding the open man and it seems Walker is playing a smoother game, spreading the ball around to his teammates.

Check out how Jefferson and the Bobcats utilized crisp ball movement to get (almost) an open trey in the video above.

Jeffery Taylor swings the ball to Zeller, who dumps it in to Jefferson. Big Al is triple-teamed and turns to toss the ball back out to a wide-open Taylor, who knocks down the long two.

It's only the preseason, but Jefferson and Walker already seem to be on the same page. If they can continue to develop this repertoire, Charlotte could very well take the next step back toward the playoffs this season. 

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