The Celtics have had a rough stretch of late, and many are quick to blame PG Kemba Walker for the struggles. The team is 1-5 so far when Walker plays, and Walker missed a game winner in Boston’s last game against the Lakers. Sure, Walker isn’t living up to expectations, but he is still an important part of this team.
Yes, Walker blew it in that last one, but the Celtics would not have had the Lakers within 1 point if it weren’t for Walker’s leadership. There are a variety of other reasons that are contributing to Boston’s struggles.
Note that three of the games the Celtics lost with Walker were also without star player Jayson Tatum. Since Tatum returned, the Celtics have at least come within 5 points in every game.
There were other factors contributing to Boston’s recent losses. The lack of bench depth is a problem, but that will improve when Payton Pritchard returns. They could trade Walker in exchange for a lesser point guard and bench depth, but I don’t think that’s necessary. The Celtics really haven’t been able to catch a break with injuries, as Marcus Smart went down last night.
Now you may ask how Walker has positively impacted the team. It’s not obvious through his inconsistent stats. I feel that Walker is a part of the environment that has allowed for Jayson Tatum and Jaylen Brown to dominate. Walker, Tatum, Brown, and Smart make for great chemistry in Boston.
I hear people saying we should have kept Kyrie Irving, but if Irving was here Tatum and Brown would not be maximizing their potential like they are. Trading Walker could ruin this chemistry. Whether he’s on the court or off the court, Walker is a leader on this team that makes everyone around him better.
Kemba Walker isn’t the problem, and we’ll see that in time. You may notice I blamed a lot of the team’s problems on injuries, but the real problem with this team is its inability to adapt when key players are missing. The Celtics have failed to step up their game in place of injured players.
However, this team could contend for a title at its best. Between the point guard duo of Walker and Pritchard, the star power in Tatum and Brown, and a defensive standout In Smart, this team has potential and I’m excited to see what this team can do later in the season. Walker makes a big impact as a leader, and we can only hope he improves on the court to add to it. He’s showed signs that he’s still capable. Prior to last night’s 4 point game, he had posted 4 consecutive games of 14+ points. Either way, it’s not the time to trade him.
After a lot of criticism from fans, the 5 game west coast road trip starting tonight will be a big test for Walker. I have confidence that he’ll bring something to the table for the team.