The wheels are in motion for the NBA to return to action within the next few months. It’s still in question just how the NBA will bring teams back, but one thing’s for sure, the Celtics will be in the playoffs.
Now that we’re finally getting closer to the return of NBA basketball, it’s time to start looking ahead to the playoffs. The Celtics are the third seed in the Eastern Conference and would be the fifth seed if the NBA went with a 1-16 seeding playoff format.
Regardless of the seeding, I want to highlight key Celtics players and give my analysis of what they can bring to the team come playoff time. Next up, we have Boston’s young superstar: Kemba Walker.
Kemba Walker found himself in a pretty great situation after leaving the Charlotte Hornets. During his eight seasons in Charlotte, Walker only made the playoffs twice, losing both playoff series. Coincidently enough, both losses came to the Miami Heat.
In his first playoff series at the age of 23, he averaged 19.5 points (47% FG, 50% 3PT) and six assists. In his second playoff series, he averaged 22.7 points (36% FG, 32% 3PT) and four assists a game. His shooting percentages took a dip during his second run, but that’s because he was also shooting eight more shots a game. There was no other option on those teams, so Kemba had to always carry the load and do most of the work himself.
As great of a player as Kemba is, he was never going to find playoff success in Charlotte. Management never put the right talent around him to succeed. It’s like Charlotte was setting him up to waste his best years on a losing team. After being low-balled in free agency, Walker decided enough was enough, and he went to an organization where he knew he would thrive and make it to the postseason consistently.
Kemba Walker enjoyed his first year on the Celtics by not having to worry about being the top guy and having to do most, if not all, of the work. Walker is the second-highest scorer in Boston, but he can go off for 25-30 points whenever he needs to. He proved to be an even better leader than we thought he was.
During the very first game of the year against Philadelphia, Jayson Tatum had a poor shooting performance. Walker came up to Tatum during the game and kept telling him to shoot. Even though his shots weren’t falling, Walker kept giving him the green light and the confidence to keep shooting. That’s the definition of a leader right there.
Since then, both Jayson Tatum and Jaylen Brown had breakout seasons. This is because they have a point guard like Kemba Walker that allows them to do their thing, and he enjoys every second of it.
Walker may not have had much playoff success when he was in Charlotte, but that’s going to change now that he’s in Boston. We can talk about how dangerous this team will be in the playoffs, and that’s because Boston has two #1 scoring options. The scary thing is that Kemba acts like he can be the second or third option. He has no issue taking a back seat to guys that are going off, but he will go off whenever he has to.
Kemba Walker was born for the bright lights and the big moments, and now’s the time that he can prove that. He proved himself to be a leader while at UConn, leading the Huskies to an NCAA championship in 2011, while also winning the NCAA Final Four Most Outstanding Player award.
He proved how great of a leader he was during the regular season, and we should expect that to carry over into the playoffs. Having Kemba Walker on your team in a gamechanger, and the Celtics are going to benefit massively from it.
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