Kemba Walker becomes first Knick to win NBA Player of the Week this season

Kemba Walker’s remarkable turnaround in New York has captured the admiration of the entire NBA. The Bronx native capped off his best stretch as a Knick with the NBA Player of the Week award.

Walker averaged 25.0 points, 9.0 rebounds, and 8.3 assists, leading the Knicks to a 2-1 record in the past week. He beat Philadelphia’s Joel Embiid, Cleveland’s Darius Garland and Kevin Love, Miami’s Tyler Herro, Max Strus, and Ömer Yurtseven, and Milwaukee’s Jrue Holiday in the Eastern Conference for the weekly honor.

Walker is the first Knick to win the NBA Player of the Week award this season.

The Knicks have been 2-2 since Thibodeau reinserted Walker to the lineup when the team had been decimated by the COVID-19 outbreak and Derrick Rose’s ankle injury that required surgery.

Walker started the past week with a 21-point, 8-rebound, 5-assist effort in the Knicks’ 105-91 win over Detroit Tuesday night that snapped a five-game losing streak at home. It was a fitting follow-up to a 29-point night in Boston where the Knicks fell short against his old team Celtics.

Last Thursday, Walker exploded for a season-high 44 points, nine rebounds, and eight assists but were not enough as the Washington Wizards beat the Knicks, 124-117.

On Christmas Day, Walker delivered a triple-double (10 points, 10 rebounds, and 12 assists) to fuel the Knicks’ 101-887 rout of the Atlanta Hawks.

After three weeks of not hearing his name, Walker walked into the Garden on Christmas as the Knicks’ best gift. The sold-out Garden crowd gave him an ovation and chanted his name as he checked out.

“It was amazing,” Walker said. “Those are the moments that you dream about. It’s kind of hard to put it into words, to be honest.”

Walker looks forward to leading the Knicks to their first win streak since October when they visit Thibodeau’s old team, Minnesota Timberwolves, on Tuesday night.

Meanwhile, Shai Gilgeous-Alexander beat Golden State’s Stephen Curry, Utah’s Rudy Gobert and Donovan Mitchell, and San Antonios’ Dejounte Murray for the weekly honor in the West.

Follow this writer on Twitter: @alderalmo

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