Warning: This is a very long post with lots of stats. I'm actually very sorry for such a long post, but I had a lot to say and just got out of class with a long class debate.
Kemba Walker has had a marvelous individual season despite the team having another very poor season. There has been much debate on here about Kemba Walker being a top 10 PG. Some think that he is a top 10 PG, while others think that he is simply a top 20 PG at best and is a stop gap to our future PG (looking at you Chuck). I for one fully believe that Kemba is a top 10 PG and I honestly wasn't sure that I'd ever say that. As we all know Kemba struggled very badly last season (as did the entire team) and I thought that at most he'd be a Jason Terry type off the bench if he improved his jump shot. Well, Kemba has done more than that. I am about to present you a detailed breakdown of how Kemba Walker has improved from possible 6th man to a top 10 PG in the NBA.
*stats updated as of 46 games played
At Rim %: 49.4 (2.7 attempts per game)
3-9 Feet %: 28.8 (0.8 attempts per game)
10-15 Feet %: 37.7 (1.0 attempt per game)
16-23 Feet %: 34.0 (3.7 attempts per game)
At Rim %: 54.0 (4.9 attempts per game)
3-9 Feet %: 32.0 (1.1 attempts per game)
10-15 Feet %: 40.5 (1.8 attempts per game)
16-23 Feet %: 44.03.3 attempts per game)
As you can see Kemba has improved drastically his sophomore season. Not only has his mid range jumper improved from below average to top tier, but he is attacking the rim more aggressively, as well as converting more around the rim. I think that this stems from a few things. 1. Coaching, 2. Improved confidence, and 3. He has put in work to get better.
Kemba's actually being used in the offense less this season than he was last season (probably due to having Sessions and his ability to play off Kemba and visa versa). His usage rate isn't exceptionally high for a PG either. Some point guards of similar skill level: Jrue Holiday - 27.27, Stephen Curry - 24.96, Brandon Jennings - 24.59. These guys all have high usage rates, but nothing like Westbrook or Irving for example (Sessions actually has a higher usage than Kemba).
Let's look at some of the PG's that are ahead (or around) of Kemba in terms of assists per game, but are also around the same skill level in terms of overall game.
Kyle Lowry: 5.8 in 27.6 mpg (DeRozan, Bargnani, Davis, but overall the supporting cast isn't much better)
Stephen Curry: 6.5 in 38.0 mpg (Lee, Thompson, Landry, Barnes)
Jrue Holiday: 8.9 in 38.3 mpg (Turner, T. Young, Richardson, N. Young, Hawes)
Mike Conley: 5.7 in 33.6 mpg (M. Gasol, Randolph, Gay, Arthur)
Brandon Jennings: 6.0 in 36.9 mpg (Ellis, Sanders, Dunleavy, Ilyasova)
Damien Lillard: 6.5 in 38.6 mpg (Aldridge, Batum, Hickson, Matthews)
Ty Lawson: 6.9 in 34.4 mpg (Iggy, McGee, Faried, Gallinari, Miller, Brewer, Chandler, Koufos)
and for Kemba: 5.7 in 35.3 mpg (Sessions, MKG, Henderson, Gordon, Taylor, Mullens, Biz)
I really only see 2 PG's that are better playmakers than Kemba Walker is. Jrue Holiday and Kyle Lowry. Jrue averaged 4.5 apg last season so he's taken a MASSIVE jump and he's clearly ahead of Kemba Walker, although Jrue also turns the ball over at an extremely high rate (4.1 turnovers per game). Kyle Lowry has about the same amount of assists per game in about 7-8 mpg less. Kyle Lowry is truly unappreciated and is a top 10 PG imo. Kemba Walker has so little to work with compared to other PG's with a similar amount of assists per game. Kyle Lowry probably has had slightly more to work with, but nothing to write home about (well, that was before they were able to get Rudy Gay). I can't help but to think that Kemba would average more assists per game than most of these guys if he had the same or a similar supporting cast.
My last argument for Kemba is that defensively he has been a top PG this season. Kemba Walker is averaging 1.9 steals per game, 0.4 bpg (very solid for a PG), and is holding his matchup to 39.5% shooting (per mySynergy).
If I had to rank PG's based on play this season, my list would be:
1. Chris Paul
2. Tony Parker
3. Russell Westbrook
4. Kyrie Irving
5. Rajon Rondo
6. Jrue Holiday
7. Stephen Curry
8. Kemba Walker
9. Kyle Lowry
10. Deron Williams
Obviously Kemba still has to keep working to get better (especially on his playmaking), because there are some guys who I think could potentially put up seasons as good as Kemba (namely Lillard, Wall, and Bledsoe), Rose coming back from injury, and players getting back to form (D-Will).
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