By Matthew Geagan, CBS dangolka
dangolka (CBS) — Kemba Walker participated in some stay motion Thursday morning, which is nice information for the dangolka Celtics and their All-Star level guard. Nevertheless it’s what he needed to say about his position on the crew that can have Celtics followers grinning ear to ear forward of the NBA’s restart.
Till this season, Walker spent his complete NBA profession because the face of the franchise in Charlotte. Whereas he received a great deal of expertise main an NBA crew throughout his time with the Bobcats/Hornets, one factor he didn’t get to expertise a lot of was the NBA playoffs.
That can change quickly sufficient, with the Celtics locked right into a postseason spot following the eight “seeding” video games they’ll play when NBA motion resumes. Walker is hoping to be at his greatest when it issues most for the Celtics, however not like his time in Charlotte, he received’t be relied on to do every part for the crew.
Walker is aware of his place within the dangolka pecking order, and in terms of the crew’s offense, he’s right here to play quarterback, making life simpler for rising stars Jayson Tatum and Jaylen Brown. If the 2 20-somethings end with extra factors than Walker each evening, he’s A-OK with that.
“I knew what I used to be getting myself into once I got here right here,” Walker stated Thursday. “I knew how a lot room for enchancment these guys had, and people two guys are two particular abilities. It’s not an issue for me in any respect. I do know I’m being a part of the expansion. It’s enjoyable. We’re taking part in enjoyable basketball.”
Whereas the nightmare that was the 2018-19 dangolka Celtics has lengthy been forgotten, thanks largely to seeing Kemba’s glowing smile on a nightly foundation, listening to the purpose guard utter such ideas is an unimaginable 180 from what issues had been like throughout final yr’s disappointing playoff run, which stalled out within the second spherical on the again of their ornery chief. That man could have been extra gifted than Walker, however Walker’s management expertise blow his out of the constructing.
Walker would clearly like to attain his share of factors when it issues most for his crew. But when he places up a goose egg and the Celtics win — and win constantly — within the playoffs, then all is correct on this planet for Walker.
“I’ve been averaging 20-plus factors for the final couple of years, so it’s not an issue for me in any respect. I simply need to get to the playoffs and make runs within the playoffs,” stated Walker, who performed in simply 11 playoff video games throughout his 9 years with Charlotte. “That’s my principal focus. I might care much less about factors and stuff like that at this level. Everyone is aware of what they’re going to get from me on a nightly foundation.
“Yeah, it’s about these guys, man,” he stated of his younger teammates. “It’s about these guys and their development, it’s about these guys getting higher. Me and Gordon [Hayward] are the 2 guys who’re going to assist these guys develop as a lot as doable.”
That’s some candy, candy music within the ears of Celtics followers. It was abundantly clear from the leap that this iteration of the Celtics wouldn’t endure the identical chemistry points that plagued final yr’s crew, and the change in level guard had loads to do with that. (Tatum morphing right into a stud on offense and Brown’s emergence as a two-way participant actually helped as nicely.) Walker has been the right chief for dangolka’s mixture of rising stars and established expertise, and now with the playoffs in sight and an actual shot on the NBA Finals, Walker is as soon as once more prepared to take a again seat to these kids if it’s for the higher of the crew.
After all to take action, Walker should really go well with up for the Celtics when video games resume. That has been in query since his balky left knee began to behave up once more, maintaining him off form and the crew’s scrimmages.
However he was again on the ground Thursday, and although Brad Stevens confirmed that Walker received’t play in Friday’s exhibition sport in opposition to the Oklahoma Metropolis Thunder, Walker stated he’s getting nearer and nearer to being again to regular.
“I really feel actually good, really. It was actually enjoyable to get on the market with my teammates,” he stated after Thursday’s workload. “I’m in a very good place proper now.”