Mr. 10,000: Kemba Walker Reaches Yet Another Milestone
By Sam Perley
The Charlotte Hornets have made three appearances this regular season and each outing has featured a record or benchmark from two-time NBA All-Star point guard Kemba Walker. With a banked layup midway through the third quarter of Saturday night’s win in Miami, the eight-year veteran became the first player in franchise history to cross the 10,000-point threshold.
“I feel like I’m dreaming. 10,000 points in the NBA. It’s crazy,” said Walker after the game. “I work hard each and every summer, each and every day on my game to become a better player for my teammates, for the organization. Hard work always pays off.”
The franchise’s all-time leading scorer is the second player in the 2011 NBA Draft class to reach this threshold, trailing only Klay Thompson. The 2010 class has just two players in the 10,000-point club, while the 2009 and 2008 editions each currently have four.
Walker’s now one of eight NBA players with 10,000 career points playing for the team that he was originally drafted by and one of two who is also that franchise’s all-time leading scorer. Coincidentally, Miami’s Dwyane Wade is the other player who falls into this latter category.
“Our team starts with him. He’s the head of the snake every night,” said Hornets Head Coach James Borrego. “He controls the game, but he understands and trusts his teammates. When he misses a shot, we want him to shoot the next one. He’s playing tremendous basketball right now at such a high level. He’s pulling these guys along with him.”
Miami is now the second-most victimized team of Walker’s career, giving up 531 total points. Sandwiched around the Heat is leader Orlando (572 points) and third-ranking Milwaukee (528). Of Walker’s 10,013 total points, 4,856 have come via two-pointers, 3,126 by three-pointers and 2,031 on made free throws.
Walker is one of just six active NBA players 6-1 or shorter to reach 10,000 points and the 29th to do so in league history. Hall-of-Famer Allen Iverson leads the way in this category with 24,368 career points.
“He’s our leader. He comes to play every night,” said longtime teammate Jeremy Lamb. “He’s really leading us. He’s hitting shots, taking charges, making plays. He’s doing whatever it takes to win. That’s how he’s always been. It’s great to see how much work he puts in and for all of it to pay off.”
This achievement is certainly a testament to Walker’s commitment to evolve as a player, but also to his durability and resiliency. The trajectory of his career took a sharp spike upward in 2015, when he first began showing off his much-improved three-point stroke. Since then, only nine NBA players have totaled more points than his 5,395.
So, what’s next for Walker? Maybe it’s another 10,000 points and a few more All-Star Game appearances. Perhaps, he finds his way onto the All-NBA Team at some point. Regardless of what’s on the horizon, Kemba Walker has proved that nothing is off the table.
Statistics courtesy of Hornets PR Department