Strengths: Walker's game is marked by "electricity" and explosiveness. Plays with an undefinable burst, seemingly moving in warp speed while everyone else is standing still- yet he remains for the most part under control, with the ball on a string. Working in his favor is a freakish blend of raw speed, breathtaking quickness, ultra-aggression and sneaky power. Scores from anywhere on the court (23.5 ppg). Can't be contained by a single defender off the dribble, be it in the half court or most notably in transition. Splits double teams and traps in a blink. Changes direction at FULL speed. He is a master at creating space, using jab steps, cross overs and pump fakes to shed defenders. Highly creative with the rock in his hands and finishing at the rim. Able to complete plays through contact with a full head of steam. Also able to re-adjust angles and avoid shot blockers by hanging and improvising in mid-air. Constantly in attack mode, frequently living at the charity stripe (7.7 attempts). Scoop shots and floaters are not foreign to his arsenal either. Overall shooting aptitude has improved dramatically since arriving on campus. His range shooting is now a real weapon (33% on 5.5 attempts), despite a myriad of low percentage, bail out chucks. He's always been extremely comfortable shooting step back J's off the dribble, but displayed a new wrinkle coming off screens as the season progressed. Solid elevation and high release. Tremendous two-footed leaper in space. Despite his gift for the putting the ball in the bucket, he's very much a facilitator (4.5 apg), creating open shots for others by commanding a second/third defender. Prolific rebounder for his size (5.4 rpg), completely unafraid to mix it up with bigger bodies. Excellent lateral quickness with fluid hips. Beats the offensive player to the spot. Opportunistic defensively- if you're careless with the ball, he'll take it back the other way for a deuce (1.9 stl). His motor never runs low (38 minutes per). A true winner with a warrior's spirit.
Weaknesses: His measurement of 6'1 with shoes was a win, but he remains an undersized commodity, his standing reach of 7'7.5 is the same as 5'10 PG Isaiah Thomas. Defending the new breed of NBA point guards will be a severe challenge. He takes a ton of hits in his 184-pound frame, and while he's been anything but fragile, it's a concern over the long haul. Walker's an unselfish distributor and a dynamic playmaker, but he'll never be mistaken for an orchestrator or true lead guard. Connecticut's half court offense was largely late clock isolations: can he get a team organized and operate an NBA style, functional system? Has a tendency to play out of control times, but to his credit he has learned to pace himself when the situation calls for it (2.3 turnovers). It's difficult to cage a lion, and as a result he will go through patches where he gets caught up in the emotion of the game. Too many out of control shot attempts, attacking the trees wildly when there's simply nothing available. Fearless is a great quality as long as it doesn't reach the point of reckless. Criticizing him for lack of efficiency (43% fg) is probably unfair given the tremendous burden placed upon his shoulders. Nevertheless, he does have a tendency to waste possessions. He finished in traffic at the collegiate level, but the NBA paint is a different animal. Continued advancement in the mid-range, pull up game will go a long ways in getting more quality looks and saving his body. Shooting stroke needs fine tuning, particularly from range. Arc on his jumper brings rain and inhibits consistent results.
Adam Ganeles 5/24/11