If I had one wish for the 2011-12 Minnesota Timberwolves it would be to have University of Connecticut’s Kemba Walker wearing the Blue and Black of the Timberwolves.
While ESPN’s Chad Ford currently has Walker sitting 10th in his newest top 100 NBA draft prospects, I believe his talent is second to none in this class.
While I may be slightly biased as my Kemboner has reached new levels this past week. The numbers he has put up in the Big East tournament have never been seen before, making Walker a great addition to a Wolves team that is in desperate need of an electric scorer from the guard position.
On Friday night Walker became the first player in the Big East conference tournament history to score 20 points or more in four straight games. Ray Allen, Allen Iverson, and all the other greats that have graced the floor at Madison Square Garden never reached that feat.
But how does Walker fit in with a Wolves team that already as a logjam at the point guard position?
Well, the Wolves point guard logjam consists of players who are facilitator’s by trade.
Ricky Rubio has become a cult icon of sorts with his Pistol Pete Marovich style of game.
While the verdict is still out on Rubio as he has yet to play in an NBA game, let alone sign an NBA contract, his hype comes from his passing ability and not his ability at getting buckets.
Jonny Flynn averaged over 13 points per game as a rookie, but has struggled this year averaging only 5.8 points per game while recovering from off season hip surgery.
Over the last few weeks Flynn has shown a desire to rack up assist numbers, as seen by his career high 14 assists performance earlier this month against Detroit. But nonetheless his scoring may never reach his rookie level.
And while Luke Ridnour has been solid as the starting point guard this year, his desire to force shots down the stretch, unsuccessfully, has diminished his performance this season.
Walker would bring something to the table that these other point guards in the Timberwolves franchise don’t have, an ability to take over games, and big games at that.
His filthy, step-back buzzer-beater against Pittsburgh on Thursday night was just a glimpse at the big play ability that Walker would bring to the Wolves.
His leadership skills were on full display as he led his Huskies to five straight victories, including four in a row against top-25 teams, to win the Big East conference tournament.
The Wolves used the number 4 pick in the 2010 draft on wing Wes Johnson. And while Johnson has been solid for most of the year, he’s only showed minor glimpses of having that 20-point per night scoring touch.
And with Walker that is exactly what you get.
Averaging 23.7 points per game in the Big East – a conference that will potentially get 11 bids to the NCAA tournament—Walker has shown he can go off against some of the best teams in the nation.
Walker has also shown an ability to lock down defensively. On the season he’s averaging 1.9 steals per game.
To go along with that, Walker owns a 2.1 to 1 assist to turnover ratio playing against top-tier talent night in and night out.
The argument against Walker is that he’s a one-year wonder.
Walker has shown steady growth over his three years in Storrs. He’s went from 8.9 points per game in his freshman campaign, to 14.6 in his sophomore year, to the aforementioned 23.7 in 2010-11.
The biggest hurdle is that the Wolves sit in a rather awkward spot to draft Walker.
Currently the Wolves own their first round pick, which should end up being between one and five. They also own Denver’s top-16 protected pick as well.
It would be a stretch to draft Walker at three, and also unrealistic to hope that he drops to 18 or 19.
General Manager David Kahn and staff need to put together the pieces to either trade-back or trade-up to aquire the electric talent that is Kemba Walker.
The Wolves have lost too many close games this year in which it was clear that they didn’t have that go-to guy down the stretch.
In drafting Kemba Walker, the Wolves would instantly fill that end of game void.
Brett is a contributor to The Sports Bank as beat writer for the Minnesota Timberwolves and Minnesota Gopher hockey, and the co-host of “The Backdoor Cut,” a Minneapolis based sports and pop culture radio show.
You can also follow Brett on Twitter @brettcloutier