There are plenty of players in the NBA that make fans scream, cry, yell, and cringe all at once. What's interesting about that is one never knows whether all that emotion will soon be channeled into positive or negative outbreak, as fans often first have to wait and see if what they were all up in arms about turns out to be a good decision by such a player.
For example, the likes of Jamal Crawford and J.R. Smith (both very notable "Sixth Man of the Year" candidates this season) are constantly seen hoisting up the very type of shots that make fans of their team want to close their eyes in fear or scream at the top of their lungs. All is good in the world, however, when those same shots just happen to go in. It's all about the risks these players take, and the fact that they drag fans along for the sometimes slow and painful (yet other times ever so exhilarating) ride.
Alas, while both Crawford and Smith may be two of the more known players with such reputations, the list of similar basketball players goes on and on.
Former NBA swingman Bill Walker, is without a doubt, one of those guys.
As a young gun with the Celtics, Walker simply emerged as an athletic player with quite a lot of potential. Having spent some time in the NBA D-League as a first and second year player, perhaps the otherwise championship contending Celtics didn't have the time, nor patience, to wait and see what Walker may have amounted to. He was dealt to the Knicks at the NBA trading deadline in 2010.
It was in New York that Walker was given a bit more of an opportunity to finally strut his stuff, for better or worse. Whereas the Celtics were gunning for an NBA title, the Knicks were instead just waiting for the summer months to arrive, where and when they would court a player like LeBron James, and actually end up reeling in someone like Amar'e Stoudemire.
As New York played the waiting game on potential free agents to be, the green light was given to Walker. Rising up to start 13 games for the Knicks that season (he appeared in a total of 27 for the team), the swingman not only averaged 12 points on 46% from the field, but also scored at least 18 points on eight different occasions. He provided a spark of hope during a time where the Knicks gave their fans not much else to look forward to.
With all that being said, however, his shooting percentages are a tad bit deceiving, as some averages often tend to be. He scored more points and shot better from the field in losses than he did wins, which left many with more to be desired from him.
Of course, Walker can't be the one to blame for the reason(s) the Knicks weren't winning ball games. If anything, the fact they were forced to rely upon him so heavily (with few other talented options on the squad at the time) should point a finger towards the reason why they were losing so much in the first place.
Nevertheless, however, Walker undeniably owned that same type of quality that made him a bold and overzealous shot-taker (and not necessarily shot-maker). He's a player whose team is forced to take on the good and the bad with, and furthermore, either ride or die when counting on him. There's no in between.
Following that season, Walker's role diminished in the two campaigns to come as the Knicks inched closer and closer to building a contending roster of their own. They waived him late last season in order to make room for D-League center and NBA vet Dan Gadzuric.
That was then and this is now. Fast-forward to 2013, and Walker actually has found himself back in the NBADL, though not having been assigned there by an NBA team. Instead, the Kansas State product has caught on with the Austin Toros in hopes of once again selling himself as a worthy enough contributor to big league teams.
Austin is a relatively guard-heavy team (especially with Spurs' guard Cory Joseph often assigned to play in town), so it'll be a true test for Walker to attempt to break into the team's rotation and earn his minutes. Though he's averaged 6 points and 3.5 rebounds through his first two contests, his shooting outings have included a 4 for 8 performance, as well as a latter 1 for 6 performance too. Such inconsistencies obviously ring a bell for those familiar with Walker's skill set.
Whereas some NBADL players set out to do all of the little things, and certain veterans in the minors look to go out and prove they still have something left in the tank, Walker's goals are probably a tad different. For him, the key to a potential call-up is showing growth, and perhaps proving he'll make an effort to ensure his days of streaky shooting will more or less be behind him.