The Boston Celtics can cope without Kemba Walker if Jaylen Brown and Jayson Tatum refuse to settle.
That’s the argument Celtics legend Kevin McHale made early Tuesday morning on NBA TV when he said the team can win without the star point guard if the young swingmen attack the rim aggressively, instead of relying on long-range shots.
“A lot of the offense falls to those guys (Tatum and Brown) to make shots,” McHale said. “And I like when Tatum is being active with the ball and attacking and making some passes and stuff. … Brown is another guy, he’s just electric with the ball … and anytime Tatum and Brown get themselves layups, they get going because they’re both capable of making threes, shooting the ball well.
“But I don’t want either one of those guys being my volume shooter from behind the line. I want those guys going to the rack, getting to the free-throw line and playing solid defense. And sometimes both of those guys, in my opinion, settle too much for a long shot.”
— NBA TV (@NBATV) November 26, 2019
McHale offered this analysis in the aftermath of the Celtics’ 103-102 win over the Sacramento Kings on Monday night at TD Garden. While Brown and Tatum scored 24 and 20 points, respectively, McHale likely derived his insight from their combined 2-for-10 shooting from 3-point range.
The win over the Kings was the first game the Celtics played this season without Walker, who sprained his neck Friday night when he ran head-first into teammate Semi Ojeleye. The Celtics reported Walker as “doubtful” to play Monday, which suggests he won’t miss too much time.
However, if his recovery drags on, Boston should be able to keep winning if Brown, Tatum and Co. follow McHale’s blueprint.