UConn in the NBA: Walker selected to start this year’s All-Star Game

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San Antonio Spurs’ Rudy Gay, left, drives as Minnesota Timberwolves’ Andrew Wiggins, center tries to get around Pau Gasol of Spain in the first half of an NBA basketball game Friday, Jan. 18, 2019, in Minneapolis. (AP Photo/Jim Mone)

Kemba Walker:

Walker is one of the only bright spots in the Hornets abysmal offense thus far in the season. The team sits at 24-25, good enough for eighth in the Eastern Conference, but that hasn’t stopped Walker from having a career year of his own with totals of 24.7 points, 5.6 assists, 4.3 rebounds and a career high 3.2 3-pointers made per game. While Walker has struggled with his shot of late, he is still averaging 16/6/5 over the past week, leading the Hornets to a 1-1 record. Walker’s career efforts have been impressive and he has been selected to his third consecutive All-Star Game and first as a starter. There is still hope for the Hornets to make it to the playoffs for the first time since 2016, but it’ll have the be on Walker’s back.

Andre Drummond:

Drummond is doing Drummond things again this year, leading the league in rebounds for the third time in the past four seasons with 14.9 per game. Although he sat out most of this week with a concussion, he was able to return for Friday’s game against the Mavericks and tally 23 points and 15 rebounds. The Pistons currently sit in ninth in the East behind Walker and the Hornets with a record of 21-27. Drummond could be on the move however, as trade talks between the Hornets and Pistons have been leaked, making way for a potential UConn reunion in Charlotte. Wherever the big man ends up, he’ll likely be a part of his second All-Star Game as a reserve with the impressive offensive and defensive numbers he continues to put up.

Rudy Gay:

Gay continues to be Mr. Consistency on a Spurs team that has been average this year. The Spurs currently sit at 29-22 on the season, good enough for sixth place in the West, but are hopeful to climb the ranks with their big three of DeMar Derozan, LaMarcus Aldridge and Gay. The small forward has played very well as the third option and is able to provide whatever is needed from him on any given day whether it be scoring, rebounding or some solid defense. He has averages of 14.1 points, 6.5 rebounds and 2.5 assists on a career high 52.3 percent shooting so far, and will look to help the Spurs even more as they try to advance in the West standings.

Jeremy Lamb:

There are two bright spots on this Hornets team,Walker and Lamb. The former NCAA champion has finally grown into a very reliable scorer for this team and is a reliable second option behind the All-Star Walker. Lamb is averaging career highs in minutes (29), points (15.2), rebounds (5.6) and steals (1.0) in what has been a very solid overall season for the eight-year veteran. Lamb will continue to get plenty of runs and therefore plenty of looks as the season goes on as he looks to build upon what is already a career year, with the Hornets still in the hunt for the playoffs.

Shabazz Napier:

Spencer Dinwiddie went down with a thumb injury and is set to miss the next 4-6 weeks, meaning this is Napier’s time to shine. He has already done so in his last two games without Dinwiddie, totaling 18 and 20 points respectively in the two games without him. The Nets are also currently one of the hottest teams in the NBA, going 7-3 over their last 10 games and sitting in sixth in the Eastern Conference, so there will be plenty of opportunity for Napier to thrive over the next few weeks in this high-powered offense. On the season, he is averaging 9.2 points, 2.1 assists and 1.8 rebounds per game, but expect those numbers to rise given he is an impact player who now has an easier path to playing time.


Conner Gilson is a campus correspondent for The Daily Campus. He can be reached via email at conner.gilson@uconn.edu.

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