It seems like a no-brainer headline. Kemba Walker must develop for the Bobcats to be successful in the future.
Sometimes a simple truth is the most profound.
I’ll dig into some stats later, but speaking strictly from a visual standpoint, it’s clear that today’s NBA is a guard’s league.
Last year, the Bobcats didn’t have a single guard, at point or the two-spot, that would start on another team. With all due respect to D.J. Augustin (who I thought would finish top ten amongst point guards in many statistics before the season started last year), he, Kemba and Gerald Henderson (who’s no slouch) would have probably been backups on every team in the league last year except for Charlotte.
Last year, every team in the Eastern Conference playoffs had one guard with at the very least a 15.1 PER (player efficiency rating). If it weren’t for the Magic, who made the playoffs basically on the shoulders of Dwight Howard, that “lowest” PER number would’ve been 16.6. Six of those teams had at least two guards with PERs above 14.
Just for a reference point, a 14 PER is below average. And there were teams that didn’t make the playoffs that had two guards with PERs on par with the numbers above.
BUT, Kemba Walker, with a 15 PER had the highest number on the entire Bobcats team. D.J. Augustin and Gerald Henderson were right around 14. Without the special circumstances surrounding the Pacers (very good scorer in Granger and All Star Center in Hibbert) and the Magic (All World center, Dwight Howard) there was no way the Bobcats were going to compete with many teams last year.
Walker is entering his sophomore season and Henderson is still very young. With a supporting cast that looks like it’s getting better, the two should continue to grow.
But, if the Bobcats want to be relevant within the next five years, one of them is going to have to up their PER to at least 17.5, a number which at least one guard on six of the eight E.C. playoff teams reached last season.