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Detroit Pistons Draft Dreams: Kemba Walker

I’m gonna be honest: I decided to write a Draft Dreams about Kemba Walker today solely because of the above game-winner vs. Pitt he hit yesterday. I’ve watched it like 20 times and can’t stop.

Info

Measurables: 6-foot-1, 172 pounds, junior G from UConn

Key stats: 23.4 points, 5.2 rebounds, 4.3 assists, 1.8 steals per game while shooting 43 percent and 34 percent from three

Projected: Mid-to-late lottery

How would he help the Pistons?

I know what you’re thinking: just what the Pistons need, another shoot-first guard from UConn. And maybe that’s accurate, I don’t know. But there’s still plenty to like about arguably the second best PG prospect potentially in the draft behind Duke’s Kyrie Irving. Walker arrived at UConn without a reliable perimeter game, and in three years, he’s become at least a serviceable shooter from distance. He’s made himself into a first round prospect by, at times, carrying a UConn team that was expected to be down some this year after losing key players from last year’s team. He’s possibly the quickest player with the ball in this draft, he’s not afraid to take big shots and he’s the type of dynamic playmaker the Pistons have lacked over the last two or three seasons.

If we’re comparing him to what’s on the roster, he has a mix of the skills that Rodney Stuckey and Will Bynum possess. He loves to get in the paint, like Stuckey, and he’s fast and explosive despite being undersized, like Bynum. I think he’s probably a better perimeter shooter than either Stuckey or Bynum at this point, but that’s obviously a weakness in the games of all three.

How wouldn’t he help the Pistons?

Walker wouldn’t fill the one gaping deficiency on the Pistons, a lack of size. Drafting him in the lottery would also be an admission that Stuckey is no longer the long-term answer at point guard. Although many fans are ready to make that proclamation, I’m not convinced the organization is yet. And to give up on Stuckey for Walker may not actually provide the upgrade fans seek anyway if Walker, like Stuckey, turns out to be more of a shoot-first point guard than a playmaker at the NBA level. Walker might end up being better, but at this point, I’m not sure there’s a convincing case that he will be.

What are others saying?

From DraftExpress:

Walker wasn’t known as a great shooter coming out of high school, but he has put an unbelievable amount of time into improving his mechanics and increasing his range over the past few years. He’s absolutely deadly now – both with his feet set and off the bounce. The fact that he can find the space to get his shot off whenever he pleases makes him that much more difficult to guard, particularly at this level. It’s also made his shot fake (a frequent part of his arsenal) more credible, which has, in turn, made him an even more effective threat slashing to the basket.

Tom Ziller, SB Nation:

So there’s that — Walker is far less a point guard than (Johnny) Flynn was, but scores more, but does so less efficiently. If there’s a saving grace in Walker’s NBA fate beyond vast personal improvement or some heretofore unseen UConn effect that is preventing Kemba from being as point-guardly as he could be, it’s that Walker rarely turns over the ball despite his massive usage rate.

From ESPN:

Walker has steadily improved at UConn and coach Jim Calhoun said he’s the hardest worker he’s ever coached. That’s saying something when you look at the players (Ray Allen, Rip Hamilton, Ben Gordon, Emeka Okafor) that Calhoun has put in the NBA. Now that Walker is showing a jumper to complement his ability to get to the basket, you have to take him pretty seriously.

Hickory High’s similarity scores

Previously

12 Comments

  • Mar 11, 201111:22 am
    by BIG MARV

    Reply

    Skip Bayless already compared him to ben gordon No thank you! and he has alot of similarites to gordon too. I need more out of my pg besides a jump shot. Ben gordon was a gamer too coming off the bench in Chicago, it all went away when he came to detroit.

    • Mar 11, 201111:44 am
      by Patrick Hayes

      Reply

      Skp Bayless hasn’t watched a basketball game in 30 years.

      Walker is nothing like Gordon. If Gordon could handle the ball like Walker can, he’d be an All-Star.

  • Mar 11, 20111:54 pm
    by Zeiram

    Reply

    Funny enough Draft express has the Pistons picking Walker in their Mock (which does not compute team needs, but still).
     
    However I would rather see you write about our needs, size. I know we are burned lovers with this but their are two int. prospects which seem to fit our needs. Maybe write about them?
    Jonas Valanciunas
    Donatas Motiejunas

    • Mar 11, 20112:21 pm
      by Patrick Hayes

      Reply

      Draft is three months away and I’ve been writing three of these prospect profiles every week. Patience my friend. We’ll get to them.

      • Mar 11, 20112:33 pm
        by Zeiram

        Reply

        I should have never doubted you ;)

  • Mar 11, 20113:25 pm
    by rick

    Reply

    lmao, After hearing all the Gordon comparisons and knowing how Joe is in love with UConn SG’s, which I consider him to be on the NBA level, I was just thinking last night that if he drafted Walker with our top pick, I dont think I could ever watch the Pistons again. Unless he finds a way to move Gordon, Stuckey, and Rip all by draft day, drafting an undersized SG would be a complete disaster.

    I’m not calling you out for the article, I know your just exploring all the top prospects, but if Joe drafts another combo guard, especially with our top pick, he will have officially gone mad.

    • Mar 11, 20113:33 pm
      by Patrick Hayes

      Reply

      See, unlike Stuckey and Gordon, Walker absolutely has to be a PG in the NBA I think. Stuckey is 6-5 and Gordon is 6-3, so even if both are a tad undersized height-wise, they can get by at SG. Walker might not even be the 6-1 he’s listed at.

      On the plus side, he handles the ball much, much better than any of the Pistons guards. I don’t know if he’s a shoot-first player because that’s what is bred into him or if it’s a result of the fact that UConn really doesn’t have anyone else capable of carrying the scoring load.

  • Mar 11, 20113:30 pm
    by rick

    Reply

    tbh, I’m not a fan of any of our current SG’s, so I’m hoping we move them all anyways. If we do, I’d be OK with using our pick on one if he’s the best available, because imo its Monroe and Jerekbo as our core, and we will need a SG eventually. But if we cant move at least 2 of the 3 we already have, we shouldnt do it.

  • Mar 11, 20116:34 pm
    by sop

    Reply

    Walker would be a TERRIBLE pick at 7. He’s way too small (probably 5’11”) and he is only an average distributor. So he basically replicates what we have in Will Bynum. Brandon Knight on the other hand would be a fantastic pick. Knight won’t be 19 until DECEMBER and he’s at least as talented as Walker who will be half way to 22 at that point. Knight is what Dumars always wished that Stuckey could become. A large (6’4″ with 6’8″ wingspan) point with great court vision and solid shot. Scouts consistently state that Knight’s speed is just under the level of John Wall and he’s much more crafty in the half court. Walker will have a terrible time defending anyone in the NBA while Knight projects to be capable of guarding 1s or 2s quite well. The Draft is about upside and Knight has WAY more than Walker.

    • Mar 11, 20119:33 pm
      by Patrick Hayes

      Reply

      Knight has had a poor season man. I get that he’s young, and he might very well have more upside. But before the season, Knight was ahead of Walker in every mock. Since, Knight’s stock has fallen quite a bit. He’s not ahead of Walker in any right now.

      Walker is certainly flawed and he’s not that big, you’re right. But he’s worked hard and built himself into a lottery prospect. He’s had a fantastic season for a UConn team not expected to do much. And oh yeah, he just took out Syracuse as I type this.

  • Mar 12, 201112:35 am
    by Quick Darshan

    Reply

    33 points, 12 rebounds, 6 steals, 5 assists.

    I’d be happy with Walker as the pick.  Although, Gordon/Walker is a terrible backcourt defensively.

    Of the players that could fall to 7, Kanter and Walker excite me the most.

  • Mar 12, 201112:40 pm
    by Eric

    Reply

    If it gets Rodney Stuckey out of the starting PG spot I would love it, I think most fans are tired of Stuckey who doesn’t get players involved, is a below average shooter, drives at the basket every chance he gets in which he is all over the place praying for a foul to be called.  At least Walker can shoot. 

    Although this play he made wasn’t that amazing, he had a big on him, complete mismatch.

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