Knicks Bench Struggling Kemba Walker, This Might Be The End Of Line | Is He A Basketball Hall Of Famer?

NEW YORK, NY - NOVEMBER 26: Kemba Walker #8 of the New York Knicks drives to the basket during the game against the Phoenix Suns on November 26, 2021 at Madison Square Garden in New York City, New York. (Photo by Nathaniel S. Butler/NBAE via Getty Images)

The New York Knicks are 11-9 and their starters have been struggling. Head coach Tom Thibodeau decided to bench struggling point guard Kemba Walker, and the four-time All-Star is out of the rotation and likely done as a member of the Knicks.

Walker has not had the impact offensively the team had hoped, and he’s hurting the team on defense. His overall -1.0 EPM is the worst since his rookie season. His +1.1 offensive EPM is the second lowest of his career and his -2.1 defensive EPM is the worst of his career.

Injuries have started to add up and take their toll on the small Walker. The NBA has a brutal history as it relates to the decline of small guards. Once skills begin to diminish the decline is usually drastic, and that’s what we are seeing with Walker.

He’s had injury issues since his time time in Charlotte with the Hornets franchise. In 2015 he suffered a torn lateral meniscus in his left knee, and he’s had recurring issues ever since.

Walker is a Bronx, New York, native who starred at UConn and led the Huskies to the Big East Tournament championship and NCAA championship in 2011. Coming home and playing high level basketball for the playoff-bound Knicks was supposed to be the storybook ending for his career.

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The former All-Star is likely going to be moved, and his career looks like it might be coming to an end, at least as a high-level starter. This begs the question is Walker a Hall of Famer?

Now, fans have to remember this is Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame. Not the NBA Hall of Fame. A player’s total body of basketball work is considered. That makes the barrier for entry a bit more manageable, if you will.

His NBA bona fides alone aren’t getting it done. Four All-Star appearances, one All-NBA selection, and one trip to the conference finals in 11 seasons.

But if you add in that magical 2011 Big East tournament and NCAA title run and you might have something.

Walker was the most outstanding player of the Final Four, First Team All-American, Bob Cousy award winner, Big East tournament MVP and First Team All-Big East. It was that run in the Big East tournament, winning five games in five days and running the table to win the NCAA title that made Walker a household name.

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“It was crazy, man,” Walker said of the 2011 run at UConn. “That was just a special, special run…It was just a really dope time for me because I never beat Pittsburgh in my career. That was the first time, playing in the Garden in front of my family and friends, one of the biggest moments in the Big East Tournament. I hit that shot and there was an explosion in there.

That was a special moment in time that all basketball fans remember, and moments count more than we might think when it comes to Hall of Fame eligibility.

A stellar college career with All-Star level play for half of his NBA career, and that will likely be enough to get Walker into the Hall of Fame at some point. However, it’s unlikely he gets in whenever he’s first eligible.


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