New York Knicks: Why Kemba Walker can transform NY’s offense

Kemba Walker, NY Knicks (Photo by Maddie Meyer/Getty Images)
Kemba Walker, NY Knicks (Photo by Maddie Meyer/Getty Images) /
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New York Knicks
Kemba Walker, New York Knicks. (Photo by Steven Ryan/Getty Images) /

New York Knicks: What the numbers say about Kemba Walker

New York’s projected starting lineup is going to be Kemba Walker – RJ Barrett – Evan Fournier – Julius Randle – Mitchell Robinson. They’ve replaced Elfrid Payton and Reggie Bullock with Kemba Walker and Evan Fournier.

Using B-Ball Index’s lineup tools, we can see that last year, the New York Knicks starting lineup of Payton – Barrett – Bullock – Randle – Robinson posted poor efficiency numbers in both shot quality and playmaking. They were almost identical numbers with Nerlens Noel in place of Mitchell Robinson.

Kemba Waker grades out extremely well in a lot of B-Ball Index playmaking metrics.

The definitions of their metrics are extensive, but they essentially break down playmaking into more specific descriptions.

Last season, Kemba Walker was graded in the 82nd percentile in passing versatility, 89th percentile in playmaking talent, and 79 percentile in pass creation quality.

In a lot of the same ways that Fournier can add new elements of offense that Reggie Bullock didn’t bring, Kemba Walker can create a new level of playmaking that wasn’t there with Elfrid Payton.

Walker might be a slightly more finesse-style player because of his tinier stature, but don’t mistake that for being someone who shies away from contact. He has always graded out well when it comes to drawing fouls. 

The even more obvious transformation of the offense from Payton to Walker is in their shooting ability.

Walker is an established shooter who is adept at creating his own shot.

Elfrid Payton, at his best, was able to get to the rim and generate some offense. He was never a threat as a shooter. It allows defenses to shade extra defenders in the paint and clog it.

With the new lineup, while Julius Randle sucks in extra defenders in the paint, he’ll have more than two starters that he can kick it out to. Surrounding Randle with Barrett, Fournier, and now Walker gives him three excellent shooters on the perimeter.

The impact of what Walker’s skill set brings to the New York Knicks’ starting point guard position can’t be understated. It’s an ideal fit not just because of his specific set of skills, but also for what he does for the rest of the lineup.