2011 NBA Mock Draft: Will Kemba Walker Slide After NCAA Championship?
It is being reported that Kemba Walker will be forgoing his senior year at UConn and entering the NBA Draft even though the NBA labor situation is unsettled. Many people believe that Walker has nothing left to prove at the college level after winning a national championship and finishing the year as one of the best players in the game.
Walker will most likely be a first round pick but I think he may slide to the later part of the first round and won't go as high as he might if he came back for another season. These are the top reasons he will slide in the 2011 NBA Draft.
Yes the Huskies did win the national championship against Butler and Kemba Walker played a big part in getting them to that point. The problem is Kemba did not have a good showing in that final game. He shot only five of 19 from the field and missing all four shots from behind the three-point line. Over his two games in the Final Four, Kemba shot 11 for 34 from the field.
He did finish the national championship game with 16 points but he will need to work on his shoot selection between now and the Draft.
Streaky Outside Shooter
If Kemba wants to excel in the NBA and wants to be drafted highly he will need to work on his outside shooting and particularly his three-point shooting. The last three games he played in a UConn uniform he shot two for 16 from behind the three-point line. Being undersized he will need an outside shot to keep defenders honest so they can't back off and wait for him to come into the lane.
Kemba Walker is a scorer, plain and simple. For the majority of the season Walker was the first, second and third option on UConn, and was never asked to be a distributor. He only had three games all season with double digit assists and for the season only averaged 4.5 assists a game.
The NBA looks for true point guards like Tyreke Evans type players. Walker will need to prove that he can distribute and set teammates up effectively if he wants to be drafted higher in the first round.
Lack of Size
I touched on this a little bit in the last couple of slides but Kemba Walker is listed at 6'1" which would be great for a point guard, but Walker is not a true point guard. He is more of a scorer and fits better as a shooting guard but would need just a couple more inches.
It is tough to find a position for him and some have compared him to Ben Gordon, which makes sense. Ben Gordon really has become someone forgotten the last two years playing up in Detroit and it will be important for Kemba to go to the right system.
Defensive Side of the Ball
The last issue that teams will have with Kemba Walker is he may become a liability on the defensive side of the ball. At 6'1" he will be too short to guard the shooting guards of the NBA and could even get posted up by some of the bigger point guards. He did average almost two steals a game in college this season and if he those type of ball hawking instincts translate in the NBA, he should be fine in this area.
So Will Kemba Slide?
The answer to that question is only time will tell. Kemba Walker is a scorer and was a leader for a national championship team and that is his greatest strength. However his lack of height and his skill sets don't fit into a traditional position which may scare some teams.
I think the Ben Gordon is a great comparison between the two and I could see Kemba as a prolific sixth man. I think teams that get out and run and allow Kemba to work in the open court would be perfect for him, like the New York Knicks. I don't expect him to be a top five pick, but will most likely fall somewhere between 12 to 15 in the first round.