Assessing Kemba Walker’s fit with Boston Celtics

The Boston Celtics could not guard Kemba Walker. (Photo by Kent Smith/NBAE via Getty Images)
The Boston Celtics could not guard Kemba Walker. (Photo by Kent Smith/NBAE via Getty Images) /

The Boston Celtics were not supposed to be able to rebound so quickly after losing Kyrie Irving this offseason. Alas, Danny Ainge is known for his ability to orchestrate a quick turnaround.

So, last week I wrote an article that essentially said no top free agents were interested in joining the Boston Celtics. Well, it turns out that I was wrong. To be fair, at the time of writing the article, I genuinely heard nothing about any marquee free agents wanting to play in Boston.

However, almost immediately after I submitted that article, I saw that Boston had emerged as the front-runner to sign point guard Kemba Walker. At first, I thought it was just a rumor and that there was no way Walker would actually sign.

As we got closer to the 6 pm start of free agency on June 30th though, that rumor continued to pick up steam until we got the Woj bomb that Walker had indeed decided to join the Celtics. So completely ignoring the fact that I was wrong about this, let’s talk about how well Kemba Walker actually fits in Boston.

With the departure of Kyrie Irving to the Brooklyn Nets, there was an obvious gap at point guard for Boston. If I was in charge of basketball operations in Boston, I would have tried to target a pass first playmaking type of point guard, such as Ricky Rubio.

However, once it became clear that there was a real chance to sign Walker, a very similar player to Kyrie Irving, you absolutely have to make that deal. Looking at the history of the NBA, stars win championships and Walker is certainly an all-star caliber player coming off a career year, but is he the best fit?

We saw last year what the Celtics looked like with a score first point guard and the results were less than optimal. There were times when Irving would dribble out the shot clock and end up taking a bad shot while players like Jayson Tatum and Jaylen Brown watched from the corner. As much as I like Walker, he is basically the same type of player, except less efficient.

You can try to sell me on Walker being a better teammate and having a better attitude and all of those different things. At the end of the day though, I do not think adding Walker to this current roster is enough to move the needle.

If Walker is able to transform his game and turn into a more pass oriented guard, perhaps there is hope that he can unlock something in Tatum and Brown that Irving was not able to.

If we are being honest, I think with Walker, the Boston Celtics will find themselves in a very similar situation this season compared to last season. They will probably finish as the 3-4 seed and will probably get bounced in the second round.

Don’t get me wrong, signing Walker was absolutely the right thing to do. It prevents the Celtics from slipping towards the bottom of the playoff picture and keeps them at the very least relevant in terms of the title picture. In the NBA, when you have a chance to acquire an all-star, ten times out of ten, you do what it takes to acquire him, but don’t fool yourselves Boston fans. As currently constructed, this team will not win an NBA championship during Walker’s tenure here.

Despite my absence of belief in their roster, their best chance to win realistically would be this upcoming season. With Golden State getting weaker, Houston having issues, the Lakers roster not fully ready yet (unless they sign Kawhi), the Bucks losing Malcolm Brogdon and Toronto more than likely losing Kawhi, the NBA will be wide open next year.

Three free agents Boston could still sign. dark. Next

Philadelphia snatching up Al Horford stings a little bit, but all things considered, year one of the Kemba Walker era in Boston is probably going to be their best shot to win a title. Let’s see if he can prove me wrong (again).