It was a homecoming befitting of a player that has ascended to the top of the NBA point guard ranks–and not because he showed he was a hero. It was instead Kemba Walker’s Boston Celtics teammates who proved that he is in the perfect place to rise to even greater heights as a professional.
The pomp and pageantry for the Boston Celtics and the Charlotte Hornets matchup in the Queen City was epic.
It had to be!
One of the greatest players in the history of the Hornets franchise–and a man who has a legitimate case to be considered the greatest–was playing Charlotte as a member of the away team for the first time in his nine-year NBA career. While Michael Jordan is not the gold standard in class, he did host a touching tribute to his franchise’s all-time leading scorer that impressed much of the NBA world.
— Charlotte Hornets (@hornets) November 8, 2019
His new team, the Boston Celtics, took home an easy win. Unlike his tenure with Charlotte, Walker was able to take a backseat and still see his squad cruise to victory.
The final score was 107-86, and even though Walker is still the Celtics’ leading scorer, his 14 points were far from the team’s highest scoring output. Instead, both Gordon Hayward and Jayson Tatum put forth greater scoring efforts with 20 and 23 points respectively.
That Walker had a relatively pedestrian game and still ended up with his team being the victors shows just how different this Boston team is than his Hornets team of years’ past. With guys like Marvin Williams, Dwayne Bacon and Cody Zeller being his primary running-mates, Walker needed to constantly put up All-Star statistics in order for his team to even have a chance.
Now, though, his team is allowing him to coast to victory. In fact, Walker has been able to focus on what he does best (and what he has been doing since his days at UCONN) in scoring. His overall field goal percentage is down, but he is taking and making more 3-pointers than ever before. He is scorching nets at better than 42% from beyond the arc. His assist totals are down, but his team is now 6-1, the best start of any team he has ever played for.
In a nutshell, being amongst a former All-Star who has returned to form in Hayward, and likely future All-Stars in Tatum and Jaylen Brown, Walker just needs to be a part of this Boston Celtics team…not be the team like he did in his first eight years as a pro in Charlotte.