Charlotte Hornets 2018-19 Season Grades: Kemba Walker delivers best season yet

Charlotte Hornets Kemba Walker (Photo by Kent Smith/NBAE via Getty Images)
Charlotte Hornets Kemba Walker (Photo by Kent Smith/NBAE via Getty Images) /

It may not have ended the way he wanted it to, but Kemba Walker carried the Charlotte Hornets in 2018-19, putting together the best season of his career.

The Charlotte Hornets 2018-19 season revolved around one player all year: Kemba Walker, the captain himself.

Throughout his eight years in the league, he’s returned each season better than the last and year eight was no different.  Regardless of the opponent, the Charlotte Hornets had a shot of winning every night with number 15 in the lineup as he started all 82 games for the second time in his career.

In his age 28 season, Kemba gave the fans plenty to cheer about despite missing the postseason.  He started the season by lighting up the Milwaukee Bucks for 41 points in the home opener and ended the year by torching the Orlando Magic and his former coach for 43 points in the season finale.

Both games resulted in Hornets losses and would be the theme for the Hornets season unfortunately.  In fact, the hornets were only able to win one of his seven 40+ point performances which was a glaring issue.

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Nonetheless, Kemba provided nightly offense featuring a plethora of his patented crossovers, step backs, ankle breakers, and triples.

It was a career year in several categories for Kemba, most notably in the scoring department as he averaged 25.6 points per contest in 2018-19.  He attempted and converted the most threes in his career with 3.2 triples on 8.9 attempts.

His insane production did come at a cost however, as he sacrificed some efficiency that saw his shooting splits drop lower than normal due to the sheer volume of shots that he was forced to generate this year when few teammates could step up.

In addition to his record scoring year, he managed to smash several franchise records.  So many, that I simply don’t have the time and space to include.  Just ask Dell Curry for a complete list since he’s the one who saw most of his records vanish.  Some of the most noteworthy though, was a new mark for most threes in a season and most 30+ point performances.

He led the Eastern conference in threes made, knocking down an absurd 260 and finished the year with 29 games of at least 30 points.

Kemba produced a manifold of special games during the season, but there’s one in particular that comes to mind.  On November 17th, 2018, Kemba Walker put on an absolute masterclass against the Philadelphia 76ers.  He lit up one of the best defenses in the league for a whopping 60 points.

He was ungaurdable from start to finish that night and was visibly the best player on the court in a game that also featured Joel Embiid and Jimmy Butler.  I was lucky enough to sit courtside during the game and for someone who’s attended countless NBA games over the years, it’s by far the most dominant performance I’ve ever witnessed by a single individual.

We know about his elite scoring ability, but there’s plenty of other aspects to his game that go unnoticed such as his durability, extremely low turnover rate, and leadership that was huge for young guys this season like Miles Bridges and Dwayne Bacon.  With everything considered, Kemba’s extraordinary season earns him a grade of:

KEMBA WALKER. A. . PG. Charlotte Hornets

The only thing preventing me from awarding an A+ was his decrease in efficiency and absence from the playoffs, which really says more about his supporting cast than it does him.

Kemba is scheduled to be the first player since 2012 to miss the playoffs and still make an All-NBA team which is head scratching, yet oddly even more impressive.

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Regardless of what Kemba decides to do this summer, I’m grateful for the past eight seasons and will follow his career no matter what jersey he wears next season.  Thank you for another spectacular season and eight memorable years.  I wish you well, Cardiac Kemba.