A lot of fantastic players get overlooked due to the team they play for. If you are on a 35ish win team, it is hard to sing your praises. The other problem with teams like that is that often you have to do a lot yourself. Kemba Walker knows everything about that.
A lot has been written about Kemba’s character and how he rejuvenated the Celtics locker room (especially compared to Kyrie Irving.) Walker is universally beloved around the NBA, and that has contributed to the Celtics’ new look this season. Kemba, on the other hand, is focused on what the Celtics are doing for him (that he never had in Charlotte). Here’s Kemba praising Jaylen Brown and Jason Tatum. (via Tom Westerholm)
“These dudes are so talented, especially for their age. … For me to not have a great shooting night and still get a win? That hasn’t happened much over the course of my career, so I’m excited about it.”Kemba Walker
Charlotte isn’t the largest market in the NBA, nor have they been very successful, so most of us aren’t aware of how excellent and consistent Kemba had to be for the Hornets to win games. Here are Hornets’ draft picks during Kemba’s tenure in Charlotte: Michael Kidd-Gilchrist, Jeffery Taylor, Cody Zeller, Noah Vonleh, Shabazz Napier, Frank Kaminsky, and Malik Monk. Nothing to write home about.
It’s not just that he gets to have a bad night and still win. With the better talent around him, he’s not getting as much defensive attention. The Celtics are just starting to develop chemistry, and Kemba is roughly averaging a 22/5/5. Those numbers will only go up as the season goes on.