This offseason, the New York Knicks made the move to acquire Kemba Walker to try to sure up the point guard position. However, it hasn’t worked out at all. Walker got taken out of the rotation by Tom Thibodeau, and aside from a few bright spots hasn’t been very effective since being put back in. It is hard to believe the falloff Walker has had these last few years, and it seems that he will never get back to his all-star form.
Kemba Walker’s Prime
Walker was drafted in 2011 by the then Charlotte Bobcats with the 9th pick. The Uconn product had an average rookie year, then began to play well his next few years. He would average over 17 points for his next three seasons, while also being a good facilitator. Walker then hit a different level in his age 26-29 seasons with the Hornets and Celtics. He would average over 20 points in all of those seasons and be selected to 4 straight all-star games.
Although Walker was a great player, he was never a complete player. He never shot over 40% from three, and there were questions about his defense, partially due to his smaller build. So you could’ve made a case that Walker wouldn’t be great forever, but his fall off doesn’t attribute to these reasons.
Although he played well last season, the injury bug hit Walker. He dealt with a left knee issue last season that never really went away. Over the summer he ended up receiving stem cell shots in that knee to try to fix the issue. The injury overall was described as “dicey” by the nypost. Throughout this process, Walker was still hopeful he would return to normal.
The Knicks were aware of all of this about Walker. They still followed through and inked him to a 2-year deal worth over 17 million. This contract could’ve been a steal for the Knicks had it worked out. Unfortunately, it hasn’t thus far.
Where Kemba Walker Stands With the Knicks
Walker is undoubtedly having the worst season of his career in his first year with his hometown team. He is averaging just 11.6 points on 40.3% shooting. He is also near irrelevant on defense. These factors led to Walker getting benched earlier this season. His first three games back showed some hope. Walker put up 29, 21, and 44 points in those games. He then had a triple-double on Christmas Day, but only shot 3/12. He then returned to his weak play and it has continued ever since. After not getting traded, there are now talks of a buyout with Walker.
So what went wrong? We don’t actually know how his knee is feeling, but it could very well be a good cause for his falloff. As I alluded to earlier, he was never a phenomenal shooter, so maybe that caught up to him. Unfortunately, all we can do is speculate. Whether it is his knee, the game catching up to him, or both, we have to hope Walker can return to his old self, as he is just 31 years old.