Key Matchup vs. Atlanta Hawks: Kemba Walker vs. Dennis Schröder

An offseason overhaul by the division-rival Hawks has made the point guard showdown between Charlotte’s Kemba Walker and Atlanta’s Dennis Schröder one to watch when the two teams square off on Friday night at Spectrum Center.

Walker is coming off the best season of his now seven-year NBA career after putting up personal highs in scoring (23.2 points), field-goal percentage (44.4 percent), three-point percentage (39.9 percent) and three-point field goals (240). The 2017 All-Star also dropped team-leading marks in points (24) and assists (4) in Charlotte’s season opener on Wednesday night.

Likewise, Schröder posted career highs in scoring (17.9 points), rebounding (3.1), assists (6.3) and field-goal percentage (45.1 percent) last season, which was his first as a full-time starter. He also averaged 23.7 points at the European Championships this summer – second most in the tournament – while leading Germany to its highest finish in the competition since 2005.

On paper, Walker has a bit more help around him with Schröder now the primary focal point for the rebuilding Hawks. Look for both Charlotte and Atlanta to rely on their star point guards when they meet for the first of four meetings this season.