Two games removed from the All-Star break, Charlotte Hornets point guard Kemba Walker is in the first true slump of this season.
Entering Monday’s home game against the Philadelphia 76ers, Walker had gone five games without a game of 20 or more points. That’s the longest such stretch without a 20-point game in the 54 games the Hornets have played this season.
In those five games, Walker averaged 13.2 points and shot 21-of-74 from the field (28 percent). For the season, Walker averages 22.3 points on 44.3 percent shooting.
What’s become of the Hornets’ first-time All-Star?
“I think that over 82 games, most every player has a stretch where the ball just doesn’t go in as much,” Hornets coach Steve Clifford said before the game.
Clifford said center Cody Zeller’s absence – he has played in one of the past eight games because of a quad contusion – has added to Walker’s struggles. Zeller is a strong screen-setter, which sets up Walker better in the pick-and-roll.
“Cody is an important part of Kemba’s game. Not critical, but important,” Clifford said.
“It’s tough for us to win when he doesn’t play well. There are other players who go through this, but they (play with) other players who can pick up that load and (the effect) is not as pronounced.
“For us, if he’s getting 10 or 12 a night, it’s going to be tough for us to win.”