What kind of NBA player will Kemba Walker be?

April 14, 2011

Productive point guard

Zach McCann

Orlando Sentinel

Without a doubt, Kemba Walker was the best point guard in the NCAA this season. He led Connecticut to a national title with his tremendous leadership, quickness, vision and scoring ability — all traits that will smoothly transfer to the NBA and make him a productive point guard.

The knocks on Walker are that he's too short and that he doesn't shoot well enough to be an NBA guard, but those limitations won't keep him becoming a useful player. At 5-11, he's undersized but similarly proportioned to NBA starters such as Jameer Nelson and Aaron Brooks. And while his percentages weren't fantastic in college, his shooting has improved every year, and that percentage is lower than it should be because the ball was in his hands so much.

Whichever team ends up with him — the Kings, Jazz or Bobcats, most likely — will be very happy.

zmccann@tribune.com

Needs time to adapt

Shannon Ryan

Chicago Tribune

Kemba Walker has all the makings of a great point guard, but it's going to take time to develop into one of the NBA's best.

Walker has shown he has the dedication and ambition to work on his game, transforming from a solid Connecticut freshman to an unstoppable junior. He made a wise decision in turning pro and could be selected as high as fifth in the draft by the Kings.

Some teams might be scared off by Walker's height, but his aggressive style and lightning speed are far more important to a long NBA career. While he was one of the most prolific and clutch shooters, his decision making and shot selection need improvement. Walker has the ability and determination to grow into one of the league's top point guards.

sryan@tribune.com

Has uncanny abilities

Jeff Otterbein

Hartford Courant

It would be foolish to bet against Kemba Walker making it in the NBA.

With his quickness, smarts and determination, he'll be just fine as a point guard. Give him time. He'll be going against bigger guards, but what he lacks in size he'll compensate for with speed and heart. He has leadership qualities, proved by an unparalleled season at UConn in which he led the Huskies to the national title, one few saw coming.

He'll be a lottery pick and could go as high as No. 5 to the Kings, though there are those who think it will be No. 9 to the Bucks.

No matter where he goes, he'll be a rich young man with a bright future and an uncanny ability to get the job done on the court, be it shooting, passing, even rebounding. UConn has a rich history of producing NBA players and here comes another.

jotterbein@tribune.com

Size will matter

Lisa Dillman

Los Angeles Times

In a sense, Kemba Walker's fate and future NBA destination are tied to what Kentucky guard Brandon Knight ends up doing.

If Knight opts to stay put in Kentucky, then Walker likely will be the second point guard taken in the draft after Kyrie Irving of Duke, and a sure-fire lottery pick.

Of course, size, or lack thereof, will be the looming issue.

Think more in terms of the next Jonny Flynn instead of the next Derrick Rose.

Flynn, highly touted from his dazzling days at Syracuse, has been a considerable disappointment with the Timberwolves.

Where Walker ends up depends, again, on Knight's decision making and the pingpong balls at the draft lottery in Secaucus, N.J.

ldillman@tribune.com

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