When Kyrie Irving arrived in Boston, the expectations for him were sky-high. Kyrie joined a Celtics’ team that was coming off an ECF appearance and just signed free agent Gordon Hayward. The expectation for Kyrie and the Celtics was championship or bust, and we know how that went.
Now with Kemba Walker joining the Boston Celtics, the expectations are a little different. Kemba Walker is joining a Celtics’ team that is not only focused on winning a championship, but also rebuilding its culture. Kemba Walker’s job isn’t necessarily to lead the Celtics to a championship. His job is to be the leader Kyrie couldn’t be.
Kemba hasn’t made it out of the first round of the playoffs so far during his eight-year career. His main goal is to win a championship in Boston, which it should be. The Celtics are looking to turn this team back into the championship-contending team it should’ve been last year.
The Celtics’ organization want both Jaylen Brown and Jayson Tatum to shine in Boston and reach their full potentials, which they couldn’t do with Kyrie around. Kemba’s humbleness and ability to sacrifice his game to allow his teammates to flourish is what will make his tenure as a Celtic a success.
Kemba can still easily put up 20+ points a game, but the ball won’t stick with him whenever he touches it. The ball doesn’t need to be in his hands for him to be successful. The Celtics will go back to team-first basketball, where everybody will get theirs, and the ball is always moving. That style of play worked so well for Boston in the playoffs two years ago, but look what happened last year when they never moved the ball and played iso basketball.
Kemba is the perfect point guard for Brad Steven’s system because he’s unselfish and willing to take a step back to allow his teammates to be successful. He’s 29 years old, so he knows his championship window isn’t going to be open for much longer. He came to Boston to win, and if he is willing to change his game up to make the team better, he’ll make every Celtics fan forget about the Kyrie era.
My expectations for Kemba Walker in his first year isn’t to bring a championship to Boston. Instead, I want him to bring change to the team. I don’t want to see a team that doesn’t like playing with each other or for the organization. I want a roster of players, from the starting point guard to the 15th man, who want to be here and are willing to put their egos aside for the sake of winning. I want a team that’ll compete and shows heart when they do it, and I believe having Kemba Walker in Boston can do just that.
Photo: AP Photo/Elise Amendola