Although ranking the top 30 NBA players in today’s game is an incredibly difficult task, The Last Word on Pro Basketball staff has taken it on. Debuting at number 21 in the countdown is Boston Celtics’ point guard Kemba Walker.
Top 30 NBA Players
Number 21 – Kemba Walker
After a stellar collegiate career at the University of Connecticut, Kemba Walker was drafted with the ninth pick of the 2011 NBA Draft by the Charlotte Bobcats. Since then Walker has blossomed into a perennial All-Star in the league and shows no signs of slowing down after being part of a sign and trade that sent him to the Boston Celtics last summer.
Over the last nine seasons, Walker has staked his claim as a top-five point guard through clutch play, impressive scoring, and all-around great play.
His career stat line is an impressive 20 points, 5.4 assists, and 3.8 rebounds per game.
Walker is one of the league’s premier playmaking point guards and has been such since his early years in the league. Walker’s scoring prowess, combined with elite level ballhandling, makes him a very tough matchup for most of the league’s other point guards.
While scoring 20 points per game, Walker has been relatively efficient from the field during his time in the league. He is shooting 41-percent from the field, 36-percent from 3-point range, and 83.8-percent at the free-throw line. All of that lends itself to a 48.5-percent effective field goal percentage over the course of his career.
The other strength we have seen out of Walker is his durability. Over his 9 years in the league, Walker has played in 655 out of a possible 704 games. He has only missed 49 games over a 9-year period, which is rather impressive for a point guard of his stature. Walker did miss some time this season with the Celtics but he has remained relatively healthy over the course of his career.
Basketball fans remember Cardiac-Kemba from his time at UConn, particularly his run to the 2011 NCAA Championship. However, since coming to the NBA Walker as played in 11 playoff games in nine years. This could be an alarming stat when you are looking at calling someone a top-five point guard in the NBA.
Walker should get a chance to shake this knock during his time with the Celtics, as he is in line to have a spot in the playoffs for the next few years barring any unforeseen circumstances. Using knowledge from his younger days we expect him to excel when the bright lights of the NBA playoffs shine on him, and he will start getting those chances more often with his new team.
Walker’s career, while it has been a good nine years, is not filled with many accolades. A lot of that could be due to his lack of team success in Charlotte, or it could just be that he is playing in the new-look NBA where point guard has become the premier position across the league.
Walker’s much-ballyhooed college career culminated in 2011 when he won the NCAA Tournament Most Outstanding Player award, the Big East Tournament MVP, and was named a first-team All-America, en route to winning the 2011 NCAA Tournament.
When it comes to NBA accolades, Walker has just a few to his name. He has been named an All-Star in four consecutive seasons dating back to 2017. Walker also was named to the All-NBA third team for the 2018-19 season. He is also a two-time winner of the NBA Sportsmanship Award.
Last Word on Pro Basketball Top 30 NBA Players Ballots
We believe in full transparency in the top 30 NBA player rankings so we are going to disclose the ballots of our player rankings and where each contributor had each player ranked.
Tyler Marling – Site Manager – 23
Chase Gage – Managing Editor – 23
David Knight – Marketing Manager – 22
Zach Kircher – Associate Editor – 22
Matthew Waldman – Associate Editor – 21
David Ward – Author – 13
Avinash Chauhan – Contributor – 21
Adam Zigner – Contributor – 19
Albert Dadson – Contributor – NR
Dylan Guest – Contributor – 22
Raheem Bashir – Contributor – 14
Nathan Levine – Contributor – 13
Bill Huan – Contributor – 27
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