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UConn in the NBA: Kemba Walker is Amazing

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Walker’s ascent continues, as he dropped 60 points Saturday night.

NBA: Philadelphia 76ers at Charlotte Hornets Jim Dedmon-USA TODAY Sports

UConn fans know and love Kemba Walker and his greatness very well, but it took some time for fans of the NBA to see it. Entering the league as an undersized guard picked 9th overall in the 2011 NBA Draft, he was doing well, averaging around 17 points per game, from his second to fourth seasons.

In his fifth year, he brought that up to 20 points per game while significantly improving his shooting percentages as well. In year six, he made the All-Star game and last year, in his seventh season, he made it two All-Star nods in a row after averaging 22 points and 5.6 assists per game.

This year, Kemba’s averaging 28.7 points, 4.5 rebounds, and 6.1 assists per game, impressively continuing his progress. Now if he can just find some better teammates. On Saturday night, Walker scored 60 points in a losing effort against the Philadelphia 76ers, and he did it in a close game while shooting 6-14 (42.9%) from three and 21-34 (61.8%) from the field. Through 15 games the Hornets are 7-8, losing some close ones, and Walker has scored 30+ points in six games.

UPDATE (11/19):

Kemba is at it again. He scored 43 points Monday night in a win over the Celtics and is currently the best player in the world, in my opinion. While 103 points scored in two games is impressive on its own, the fact that Walker has done it while hitting 20-of-21 free throws and 59 percent of his field goals.

Walker’s current and former UConn teammate Jeremy Lamb gave Walker the most help Saturday night, with 20 points and 10 assists. Lamb is actually coming off a great season himself, raising his scoring average by three points to 12.9 per contest last year. So far this year, he’s up to more of the same, averaging 13 points and just under five rebounds per game.

Like Kemba, former Husky Andre Drummond also made his second All-Star game last year, averaging 15 points and 16 rebounds per game for the Detroit Pistons. Through 13 games this season, his seventh in the league, he’s scoring at a slightly better clip and rebounding at the same level. Drummond has already posted FIVE 20/20 games this season, and his rebounding numbers are at all-time levels.

Rudy Gay is now in his 13th season in the NBA, and in his second season with the San Antonio Spurs. He missed a few games with a foot injury, but has been a productive player for head coach Gregg Popovich off the bench, averaging 13.9 points and 7.8 rebounds.

Shabazz Napier is in his fifth year in the league, and first with the Brooklyn Nets, the fourth team of his career. He’s averaging around 15 minutes and 7 points per game as a solid contributor in a backup guard role.

Despite dealing with an injury that kept him out of offseason work through the early part of the season, Daniel Hamilton recently made his first appearance for the Atlanta Hawks, who just signed him. He’s also played a couple of games for the Hawks’ G League affiliate, the Erie Bayhawks. After making his NBA debut last season, Hamilton is hoping to rise up in the same way many of his UConn brethren have in the league.

NBA: Miami Heat at Brooklyn Nets Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports