After a season and a half in Boston that included 37 games in a Celtics uniform, Bill Walker is finally making his first career start at the TD Garden. But he's not wearing green anymore.
Walker, who was traded from Boston to New York a month ago as part of the Celtics' deadline deal for Nate Robinson, takes the floor Wednesday night as the Knicks' starting small forward. With the injuries suffered this week by Wilson Chandler (groin) and former Celtic Eddie House (Achilles), the second-year swingman has seen a sudden uptick in minutes. This is his fourth start this month.
"We love the talent," Knicks coach Mike D'Antoni said of Walker before the game. "He's very explosive. He's got a nice feel for the game, which surprised me. He knows how to play, and now it'll just depend on him to work this summer and get his body in great shape and attack. He needs to find his way, and it's up to him now. But I think he's definitely got the talent to play."
Walker has endured a lot of injuries early in his basketball career. He hurt his draft stock early in 2007 when his season at Kansas State came to an end with a ruptured ACL, and this season, he suffered a torn meniscus in his knee early in the preseason, causing him to miss six weeks. Now he's back, and he's ready to play.
"I think he's past [the injuries]," D'Antoni said. "Now he's just got to tone up and keep improving. He's looked really good in spots, but up and down a little bit, like someone that hasn't played a lot. So these last 15 games will help him in that aspect. And if he has a great summer, and he comes back, he should be able to contribute."