Walker takes the reins for struggling Bobcats

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Walker takes the reins for struggling Bobcats

BOSTON Scoring. Passing. Deflecting passes.

Kemba Walker is called upon to do a little bit of everything for the Charlotte Bobcats, a role he is quite familiar with after leading the UConn Huskies to their last national championship in 2011.

But team success has been hard to come by for Walker, who was a member of the worst team in NBA history last seasonin Charlotte.

And this season's bunch, while better, is still among the worst in the NBA.

Walker will be the first to tell you that the lack of success he has had professionally has been disappointing. But, in the same breath, the 6-foot-1 guard makes it clear that he's far from discouraged at future prospects, even with the Bobcats about to take on a red-hot Celtics team tonight.

"Of course, the losses, it's been tough," Walker told CSNNE.com. "I just try to maintain the same attitude and stay positive, try to keep my temmates together."

And make no mistake about it. In only his second season, this is indeed Walker's team. And that in and of itself has been a bittersweet experience.

He embraces the leadership responsibilities that he has, but to not be able to lead Charlotte to victories -- something he did often with the Huskies -- has at times been difficult to accept.

"It's been tough of course," said Walker who is averaging 17.6 points and 5.8 assists per game, both team highs. "But at the same time I have such a good group of guys around me. It doesn't affect me as much as much as it should. These guys are doing a good job of staying positive, keeping me positive. We know we're a young team and this is a tough league to win in. We just trying to get better everyday."

And part of that improvement is playing with more effort, more consistently.

"That's the only way we're going to win, and we want to win," Walker said. "We know that playing hard, playing aggressive, we have to play that way through the whole game. We're going to try our best and come out and play hard every night."

Despite Charlotte's struggles, first-year coach Mike Dunlap has nothing but praise for the job that Walker has done for the Bobcats.

"First off, statistically he's dramatically up in everything," Dunlap said. "He leads us in any category that we can invent. We're getting high level play from him night in and night out. Also we have our own deflection chart defensively. He leads us in charges, hands on ball, the whole deal. We can't get much more out of him night in and night out. "

Said Walker: "Coach (Dunlap) has put me in the position to be a leader. And I'm just trying my best to embrace the role."

The value of leadership can only be enhanced by one's play, which is why Walker has had no issues in leading this team despite all but two players -- second-year center Bismack Biyombo and rookie Michael Kidd-Gilchrist -- being older than him.

"They (older players) have given me a chance (to lead)," Walker said. "Like I said, these are some great guys and they have given me some great opportunities."

Celtics coach Doc Rivers has also recognized the improvements made by Walker this season compared to last year when he was a rookie.

"When you watch the rookies and then you watch them the next year, it's amazing how different they are," Rivers said. "They play at a different pace, better speed. It was really fun watching Kemba on film the last two or three days.

Rivers added, "He's sure of himself now. He knows where he wants to go. He knows he can get his shot now as well. That makes him a heck of a guy to guard."

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