The NBA Draft is 16 days away. Which means that Kemba Walker has something like 370 hours before he finds out where he'll be playing basketball for the foreseeable future.
We last perused the online mock drafts two weeks ago and at the time Walker was slated to go fifth overall to the Toronto Raptors.
But this isn't a science. In fact, it's not even an art. It's media, bloggers and hardcore fans taking guesses (that range from educated to throwing darts at a list of names) about who is going where and when.
But it's also fun; with the NBA season almost over, it helps pass the time between the few remaining games. More than that, the draft, and all the hype leading up to it (the combine, workouts, speculating and, of course, the mocks) give fans hope. It's the only time of year where everybody, no matter team alliance, is on a level playing field. The season is over, teams are all 0-0, and fortunes can be made or lost with a great draft.
It's rarely that black and white. Unless your team lands Blake Griffin or Derrick Rose, draft picks often have minimal impact on a team's success, especially in their rookie seasons. But we're all optimists this time of year; we don't want to hear the truth, we want to cling to the hope that this is the pick who will change everything.
No one thinks that Walker will have an immediate effect in the way Griffin or Rose did, but he should contribute as a rookie. (For the record, we don't think Kyrie Irving, the consensus first-overall pick later this month, will have much of an impact, either.)
Walker's junior season at UConn was a glimpse of what he will bring to the NBA; he's a floor leader, has a non-stop motor, can score from anywhere, and gets to the free throw line. He's undersized and needs to work on his ball-handling, but for the most part, what you see is what you get. And for many NBA general managers that has to be a relief; there's no need to project what Walker will be like once he matures. He's already there. Now it's just a matter of fine-tuning, and more importantly, finding the team that best fits his skills.
Which brings us to SB Nation's latest mock draft, courtesy of Tom Ziller.
7. Sacramento Kings: Kemba Walker, G, UConn
I once got yelled at on Twitter for daring to compare Kemba to Jonny Flynn, so let's tread lightly here. DX's poles are Ty Lawson and Aaron Brooks. Let's split the difference and peg him at Terrell Brandon.
In recent weeks, Walker has been projected to go between the fifth and 10th pick. Never higher and seldom lower. This is mostly because there isn't much depth in the point guard class, and while Walker isn't a bona fide All-Star, he is reliable. And in a draft sometimes based on hunches and gut feelings, knowing what you're getting is a good thing.
If you're curious, Ziller has Jimmer Fredette, the guard many people thought had a better college season than Walker, going 12th overall to the Utah Jazz.