Kemba Walker is relishing the idea of playing meaningful games in March again.
The Charlotte Bobcats point guard hasn’t had that opportunity since leading Connecticut to the national championship three years ago.
The Bobcats were a combined 28-120 in Walker’s first two NBA seasons, but things have changed for the better this year. Charlotte has the seventh-best record in the Eastern Conference and appears destined for the postseason. They’re five games ahead of the ninth-place New York Knicks with 10 games remaining.
“It’s exciting. It’s different,” Walker said after Thursday’s practice. “This is what I have been dreaming of my whole life. I’ve been waiting for this opportunity.”
Charlotte’s turnaround is in no small part due to the arrival of free-agent center Al Jefferson and the improved play of Walker, who is blossoming into an above-average NBA point guard in his third season. Walker said he’s beginning to realize how valuable he can be on the court even if he’s not the team’s leading scorer.
On paper, Walker’s numbers don’t look all that different than last season.
He’s averaging 5.8 assists per game, up slightly from 5.7 in 2013.
BUCKS LOSE FORWARD — The Milwaukee Bucks forward Ersan Ilyasova is likely to miss the rest of the season because of a sore right ankle. The Bucks say a specialist in Los Angeles examined Ilyasova’s ankle on Tuesday and instead of surgery, recommended rest and rehabilitation starting immediately. Milwaukee says based on that recommendation, Ilyasova is not expected to play the rest of the season. In 55 games this season, including 47 starts, Ilyasova averaged 11.2 points and 6.2 rebounds this season.
SYRACUSE TO LOSE ENNIS — Syracuse freshman point guard Tyler Ennis announced his intention to put his name in the 2014 NBA Draft. Ennis finished second on the Orange in scoring at 12.9 points per game and averaged 5.5 assists to go with 1.7 turnovers, one of the top marks in the nation.