Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Kemba's NBA Draft Prospects

Maybe this is a bad time to look ahead – and realize that there is virtually no chance that Kemba Walker returns to UConn for a senior season. Still, I’m pretty intrigued by his NBA draft prospects. Surely, they’re climbing with each new sensational effort. No doubt Walker improved his stock quite a bit with last week’s Big East tournament virtuoso performance, but it’s really anybody’s guess where he could go.

For example: as of March 9 (a week ago), NBAdraft.net had Walker going at the 26th pick of the first round to New Jersey. Draftexpress.com, meanwhile, was a little more up-to-date (March 11) and has him going at No. 7 to Detroit. Somewhere between lies the truth, no doubt.

I talked to an NBA Western Conference scout a few weeks ago about Walker. Here’s what he had to say (and keep in mind, this was before Walker’s incredible run through the Big East tournament):

“I think he’s maturing, getting better. The best part of his game, almost like (Ty) Lawson, is when the ball’s in his hands he’s a one-man wrecking crew on a fast break. I think that’s going to be one of his major assets at the next level. Of course, Lawson ended up with a coach (George Karl in Denver) who lets him play like that. Hopefully, Kemba will, too.”

Could Kemba be a lottery pick?

“I met up with a guy I scout with, we tried to put some names together. This truly is a weak, weak draft, which really is in his favor. If the kid from Duke (Kyrie irving) decides to come out and everybody feels comfortable with his injury … what other point guards are out there, really?”

(Brandon Knight, I suppose … but his point is well-taken).

Will the 6-foot-1 (maybe) Walker be able to get his shot off in the NBA?

“Yeah, he’s quick and strong. Hitting shots, I don’t think he’ll have any problem with that. Shots will be available to him. If I was working with him, I’d have him put the defense on its heels. He’s got to work on pull-up jumpers. That’s the shot he’s going to have, and he’s gotten a lot better at it. He’ll have a lot of open 15, 17-footers -- the kind of shots (Rajon) Rondo’s not taking. Those are the shots he’s gotten better at. Typically, guys tend to be better shooters as they get older. There’s nothing broken about his mechanics.”

“He’s got enough New York in him, he’s not worried about going to the hoop. He’s kind of fearless. As long as he’s not afraid of getting clobbered, he’s got a strong enough body to put up with it.”

Will he be able to defend at the next level?

“He’s quick enough. A lot of times, guys will go the path of least resistance. If you’re quick enough to do that, you’re quick enough to guard somebody. He may have to make it part of his ID from now on.”

What kind of an NBA player will Walker be?

“He’s a bigger, better J.J. Barea. And Barea’s a helluva player. It’s the old saying: it’s the size of the fight in the dog, not the dog in the fight.”



Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hey Dave,

Do you think the analysts over overplaying Uconn having to play 5 games in 5 days and be beng too tired for the tournament? Have you heard anything about practices this week and how the guys look if they are tired or fresh?

March 15, 2011 at 3:45 PM 
Blogger David Borges said...

Haven't seen the team practice this week and won't seem them until tomorrow. But I, for one, think the 'fatigue factor' is overrated and won't be a major factor moving forward.

March 15, 2011 at 5:28 PM 

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