Kemba Walker signing with the Celtics for four years and $141 million has plenty of Boston fans excited- as they should be. Boston has finally rid themselves of the locker-room menace that was Kyrie Irving (good luck, Brooklyn) and they signed an All-Star point guard to replace him. Neither Jayson Tatum or Jaylen Brown were moved (knock on wood). However, is Kemba really the guy that will lead the Celtics to the promised land, as Kyrie was supposed to?
In short, no.
In long, there are plenty of reasons why- but the answer is still no.
Much like almost every season since Shaquille O’Neal and Kevin Garnett, the Celtics are missing a good big man. Don’t get me started on Al Horford parting ways to go to Philadelphia, even after all the beef with Joel Embiid. Boston is in the same position they have been in for the past few years- the same reason why people discussed trading away their future stars for Anthony Davis.
Kemba Walker is excellent, but he doesn’t help a weak front court. Especially with Baynes gone, the Celtics are relying on Enes Kanter to be their starting big man, with reserves of Daniel Theis, Robert Williams, and rookie Grant Williams. Throw in Tacko Fall if you really want to. Boston is likely to roll out Walker-Brown-Hayward-Tatum-Kanter, a small lineup compared to other teams.
While their front court isn’t promising, that’s none of Kemba’s fault. However, his play style is reminiscent of Irving’s. Walker’s a ball-dominant point guard who is used to taking a lot of shots. Yes, there were locker room issues with Kyrie, but there were also on-the-floor issues. He took shots away from the talent Boston was planning on developing and his playstyle wasn’t too complementary with the Brad Stevens strategy.
This team DID go to Game 7 of the Conference Finals without Irving, however. But while he was on the floor, he was the best player. There’s no arguing that.
With more minutes and shot attempts, Kemba only averaged 1.8 more PPG than Irving (25.6 to 23.8) with a +/- of 0.4 to Irving’s 5.0. He also had one less assist per game and less rebounds. Let’s face it- in Kemba’s career season, he still isn’t Kyrie Irving.
Should Celtics fans be excited about Kemba Walker? Yes, of course- he’s a top point guard in the East and doesn’t come with a tiara. Will this roster put up a banner with Kemba as their main guy? Absolutely not.
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