2011 NBA Draft: Will UConn Huskies' Kemba Walker Get Picked in the Lottery?

Collin BerglundCorrespondent IIIMarch 5, 2011

PITTSBURGH, PA - DECEMBER 27:  Kemba Walker #15 of the Connecticut Huskies drives to the basket against Ashton Gibbs #12 of the Pittsburgh Panthers at Petersen Events Center on December 27, 2010 in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.  (Photo by Justin K. Aller/Getty Images)
Justin K. Aller/Getty Images

Kemba Walker played all 40 minutes for the UConn Huskies in Saturday's game against the Notre Dame Fighting Irish, scoring 34 points in a performance that has become all too common for one of the best players in UConn's robust history.  

Walker's phenomenal season will land him in the 2011 NBA Draft Lottery, unless he stays for his senior season.  

Walker is on pace to graduate in May, and although only a junior, was featured on UConn's Senior Night.  

Even so, despite comments made by UConn head coach Jim Calhoun, that he does not see any reason for Walker to stay his senior season right now, Walker has left the door open for a 2012 return in comments of his own.

Walker is an unconventional player, and some scouts wonder whether or not his playing style will allow him to play point guard in the NBA.  Along with his nearly 23 points per game and five rebounds, he averages less than five assists per game—more Allen Iverson than Jason Kidd.  

But, the NBA always has room for a guy that can get the ball in the basket.  And Walker can.  A number of lottery teams have serious scoring issues.  Obtaining a scorer like Walker would pay dividends—and quickly.

Walker led a UConn team with lower preseason expectations than almost every other UConn team since 1999 to a top-25 ranking.  After beating Michigan State and Kentucky in back-to-back games early in the season, Walker began to make headlines across the country.

Even Calhoun, a normally reserved coach when talking about his players, can't help but gush about Walker, saying he has more pressure on him than any other player in the Big East.

A team like the Charlotte Bobcats would do well to draft Kemba Walker late in the lottery.  Walker has proven himself a winner, even on a team that wasn't supposed to win; a scorer, even in situations where making a basket seems impossible; and a leader, even with the odds stacked against him.

The NBA has had a number of short stars, from Iverson to Tim Hardaway.  It's tougher, but talent and heart can overcome a lack of size.  NBA teams should not discount Walker simply for his size.  They must look at his full body of work—the numbers he has accumulated, in addition to the performance of his team.

NBA teams that look at Walker will find a player ready to help add a couple notches to the win column next season.