Question of the Day: What kind of NBA player will Kemba Walker make and where will he likely end up? [Updated]
Writers from around Tribune Co. weigh in on Kemba Walker's decision to end his college basketball career at Connecticut and enter the NBA draft. Check back throughout the day for more responses and feel free to leave a comment of your own.
Zach McCann, Orlando Sentinel
Without a doubt, Kemba Walker was the best point guard in the NCAA this season.
He led the Connecticut Huskies 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 at the next level.
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 from becoming a useful player at basketball’s top level.
At 5-feet-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 school, 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.
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 stellar junior.
He made a wise decision in turning pro, having obtained his degree and earned an NCAA tournament championship, and could be selected as high as fifth in the NBA 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 will need to find improvement. Walker has the ability and determination to grow into one of the league’s top point guards.
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, proven by an unparalleled season at UConn in which he led the Huskies to the national title, one few saw coming.
Only a junior, he intends to walk in commencement exercises, after which he’ll need just two online courses and an internship set up with the team that drafts him to get his sociology degree. He’ll be a lottery pick and could go as high as No. 5 to Sacramento, though there are those who think it will be No. 9 to Milwaukee.
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.
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 will likely 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.
Fynn, highly touted from his dazzling days at Syracuse, has been a considerable disappointment with the Timberwolves, not fitting into their system and seeing scant playing time behind Luke Ridnour.
Where Walker ends up depends, again, on Knight’s decision-making and the ping-pong balls at the draft lottery at Secaucus, N.J.
This much is known: He won’t be going to the Clippers. For once, they are without a first-round draft choice this year.
Photo: Kemba Walker. Credit: Streeter Lecka / Getty Images