He’s worked hard to drop a ton of weight, and despite a pretty underwhelming summer league, Bill Walker is sure to be fighting for a rotation spot this coming training camp.
The thing you have to respect most about Bill Walker is his perseverance. He was once the best player under 18 in the country, now he’s battling to get NBA minutes, something he always thought would come so easily before a knee injury derailed those dreams.
He landed with the Boston Celtics, on a veteran-heavy bench where minutes were sparse. So few, in fact, he attempted just a single 3-pointer in his 2 seasons there.
Upon landing with the Knicks in the Nate Robinson trade, however, it was bomb’s away as Walker connected on 43% in the final stretch of the season.
The question becomes, like several of the Knicks frankly, “what’s his position?” Moreover, one has to wonder was his shooting range and accuracy a mirage? Were his looks a product of a player perfectly fitting the system, or did they come because defenders took a breather against the Knicks at the end of a long season where the games were virtually meaningless. As we know, the more significant the games become, the less space there is to operate. Walker found himself WIDE open on many occasions last season. Is he the player who struggled to even stay active on the Celtics roster, or is he the player who went 5-8 from behind the arc finishing with 23 points in Dallas, or putting 28 on the Raptors in the final game of the season.
I see a player who may lack consistency, but has the ability to be a heavy rotation minute player. For some reason I keep thinking his ceiling is that of Gerald Wilkins, even though he seems to have a more natural shooting stroke. But, again, maybe it was a mirage.Wilkins was a very strong 2/3 who had to play the shooting guard position. To me, he was a classic tweener who struggled when the court shrunk. An effective player in the regular season on a mid-to-late seed in the conference.
Wilkins was a great young athlete with a flashy name and game, but as he matured his game didn’t in terms of shot selection. Wilkins was a fan favorite and played hard on both ends, but wasn’t a starting 2 on a championship level team. At least not in Pat Riley’s eyes. For those who recall Wilkins, could you imagine him in a league or system with space to get to the rim?
Where Walker goes from here will be one of the real interesting things to keep an eye on. With the additions of Azubuike, Roger Mason, Jr. and Wilson Chandler coming back, where exactly does Bill Walker fit in the plans? How about Landry Fields who was the the summer league team’s second best player?
Just one of the many questions that needs answers for the Knicks heading into the 2010-11 campaign.
Where do you think Walker fits?