Why a Kemba Walker reunion doesn’t make sense for the Charlotte Hornets
The Charlotte Hornets are a young team while Kemba Walker is an old player
As a 32-year-old veteran with 11 years of NBA basketball behind him, Kemba Walker is clearly past his prime. While there is value in veteran leadership, the needs that Walker could fulfill for Charlotte would come at the expense of giving opportunities to younger players with an eye towards the future.
The Hornets entered the 2022-23 season as the sixth-youngest team in the NBA, with an average age of 24.60 years old. Among their young players are LaMelo Ball (21), James Bouknight (22), Théo Maledon (21), and Bryce McGowens (20), who are all still developing and could become important pieces of Charlotte’s future.
Beyond the young guards, Charlotte also has a trio of older guards who still need minutes, including Dennis Smith Jr., Terry Rozier, and Cody Martin. Even if Walker can perform at a level deserving of minutes, he would still be vying for playing time alongside Ball, Smith Jr., and Rozier at the very least.
Kemba Walker doesn’t fill an on-court need for the Charlotte Hornets
Walker was capable of piling up points in bunches during his prime years, as evidenced by his 19 games of at least 40 points, including an epic 60-point performance during the 2018-19 season. While he is still capable of scoring, he cannot do so at the level that he once did.
Charlotte has not been a good offensive team this year, as their 108.7 points per game is the fifth-lowest mark in the league. However, with LaMelo Ball now healthy, that has already begun to change, as the Hornets scored 115 points in Ball’s first game of the year on Saturday night. The 115 points marks Charlotte’s third-highest mark in a non-overtime game this year and is their most points scored over the last eight games. While Walker is more than capable of coming into a game and knocking down shots, Charlotte’s offense figures to begin picking back up in the weeks to come now that Ball is back in the fold.
Contrarily, Charlotte has struggled on defense, ranking in the bottom half of the league in team defensive rating (19th), opponents’ field goal percentage (17th), and opponents’ points per game (19th). As a 6’0″ guard, Walker’s potential impact on the defensive end has always been limited, and it would be unfair to expect him to be the solution on that end of the court.