Sports Illustrated’s annual Top 100 NBA Rankings always stir up plenty of debate, and that’s sure to be the case with this year’s list.
The Boston Celtics had multiple representatives in the parts one and two of the rankings on Monday and Tuesday. Part three moves closer towards the top of the list, with one Celtic landing in the 20-11 range.
Marcus Smart (No. 82), Jaylen Brown (No. 68), Gordon Hayward (No. 59) and Jayson Tatum (No. 35) all were named in the first two sets of players released. Kemba Walker, however, made his appearance on Wednesday.
The Celtics new point guard comes in at No. 20 on the list, with SI’s Rob Mahoney highlighting Walker’s masterfulness around pick-and-roll basketball. Other than his size, or lack thereof, Mahoney didn’t note any true downfalls when describing Walker’s game.
Here’s a snippet of Mahoney’s analysis:
“For Walker, that could be as simple as hesitating in the space behind the screen, forcing more conservative defenses into a gut check. It could be the way he chooses to snake through a pick-and-roll rather than attempt a straight-line drive, extending his stay in the areas of the floor most sensitive to a team defense. Or it might even start earlier: before a screen is ever set, where Walker uses a subtle step to set up his defender to be creamed. Opponents have to respect the possibility that Walker might pull up for a three at any time. That makes him a risk from about 25 feet in, which has a way of making opponents antsy before Walker ever makes his move.”
Walker averaged 25.6 points, 5.9 assists and 4.4 rebounds last season in 82 games with the Charlotte Hornets.