The New York Knicks have cap space to spend, but why is Kemba Walker not linked to them like Kevin Durant and Kyrie Irving are?
The New York Knicks are in prime position to add two max contracts this summer. One should be Kevin Durant, but who should be the other? There are two realistic options in Kyrie Irving and Kemba Walker.
Most have linked Irving, and he makes sense. What people don’t realize is that Walker has reached Irving’s level at the point guard position. So how come all the rumors link Irving to the Knicks and not much is talked about Walker?
Walker just had his best season, shooting over 40 percent from the 3-point line in spot-up situations and nearly brought his team to the playoffs, while lacking a second star or even a serviceable roster. Most impressive is that he makes two of five threes off of catch shoot opportunities, making him an effective off-the-ball player after being one of the best pick-and-roll players in the league.
The last three years the Hornets have outscored opponents 2.6 points per 100 possessions with Walker on the court, while being outscored 7.1 per 100 possession with him off the court. That is a huge gap and just shows how little talent he plays with in Charlotte. The growth of his game and becoming such an excellent shooter has expanded his game.
Stats Comparison for 2018-19
Kemba Walker: 25.4 PPG, 4.4 RPG and 5.9 APG
Kyrie Irving: 23.8 PPG, 5 RPG and 6 APG
The numbers are not very different between the two star point guards.
Irving’s biggest edge is playoff success. Sure all of it was with LeBron James but still he hit that big shot in the finals and has a title under his belt.
Walker, on the other hand, has made the playoffs just twice in his career. This is the biggest hit on him being the future point guard of the Knicks. Irving also has an edge on defense due to having more size. Some of Walker’s lack of effort on defense could be due to him having to put so much effort on offense, maybe some of that will change if he plays for a better team look at Irving when LeBron re-joined the Cavs.
Irving is a household name from being a star on the Cavs team that went to numerous finals and playing for an iconic franchise in the Boston Celtics but quietly Walker has closed the gap all that is left on his resume is playoff success. What better way to do it on the biggest stage, the Garden, with a team that is poised to make some real noise this summer.
Irving deserves the attention and the link to the New York Knicks, but Walker should also be in the running as the next point guard on a long-term deal.