Is Kemba Walker the answer for the Celtics?
The Celtics have known that Kyrie Irving was going to leave for months now, and they have been wondering who would take his place at point guard. The Celtics had a few options. They could draft a point guard, resign Terry Rozier, or sign someone new. After the Celtics selected Carsen Edwards 33rd overall, it seemed as if they might sign a veteran point guard that Edwards could learn under. However, the Celtics went a alternate route, and signed All-Star point guard Kemba Walker. Walker is coming off his best season of his 9-year career, and has shown no signs of slowing down. Walker is obviously a tremendously talented player, and the Celtics hope that they can have a better experience with him than they did with Kyrie. Is Kemba Walker the answer for the Celtics?
As stated before, Walker is a great player. He finished the 2018-2019 season averaging 25.6 points, 4.4 assists, and 5.9 rebounds. Considering how keyed in the defense was on him, Walker shot efficiently with averages of 43.4% from the field, and 35.6% from 3. He is a legit scoring threat, and can facilitate an offense at a high level. In addition, he is a much better leader than Kyrie is, and is a no-drama type of player.
Not only will the Celtic’s benefit from signing Walker, but Walker will benefit as well. One of Kemba’s greatest feature is his ability to put a team on his back, and put pressure on the defense so his teammates get easier shots. The Celtic’s roster is much more talented than the Hornet’s. This means Walker will get cleaner shots, making him an even more efficient player. While Walker will definitely have a positive impact on the Celtics, there are some concerns.
For Starters, the Celtic’s biggest problem last year was that they had too many players who needed the ball to be effective. Kyrie Irving posted the 16th highest usage rate in the league this past season, with 33%. Walker topped that rate with a 35% rate, putting him 9th in the league. Jayson Tatum and Jalen Brown, who are rising stars for the Celtics, both had usage rates below 23%. With the departure of Kyrie, Al Horford, and Terry Rozier, Tatum and Brown will have the ball more. This could help them truly blossom as players. However, with Walker at the helm, it is hard for some to imagine a significant difference between what happens this upcoming season, and what happened last season.
When compared to Kyrie, Walker had the ball in his hands more, and his efficiency number don’t stand out as much. Part of this had to do with the constant carrying Walker had to do, as he seemed to be the only Hornet who could create for himself. The biggest concern with Walker playing for the Celtics is that he could stunt the development of their young players. However, with Walker actually having talented teammates, his usage rate will go down, thus providing more opportunities for young players to step up than Kyrie ever did. Expect Walker’s points per game to dip, but that his efficiency numbers, assist rate, and defensive efficiency to go up.
Kemba Walker is the Answer
Kemba Walker IS the answer for the Celtics, and, while there are concerns about Walker’s fit with the Celtics, in the end, both sides will benefit from the signing, and Walker will finally get his chance to truly compete in the playoffs. It will be exciting to see who is their leading scores next season, as Tatum is on track to make the next step in his career. However, one thing is for sure: Walker is their leader, and will be beloved by Boston for the years to come. Will Walker help the Celtics be a legitimate threat in the east, or will they underachieve once again?