Kemba Walker and Kyrie Irving are different in more ways than one.
For starters, Walker takes a much different leadership approach than Irving, which ESPN’s Jackie MacMullan and Celtics legend Paul Pierce have noted. It sure looks like Walker’s attitude is resonating with Boston better than Irving’s, and while the latter might be the better overall player, the former’s style of play might be a bitter fit for the C’s.
Jalen Rose suggested as much during Tuesday’s episode of “Jalen & Jacoby” on ESPN. Although Walker is a volume scorer, the star point guard’s offensive repertoire tailors to getting everyone on the floor involved.
“…I have one word to describe this Celtics team versus last year’s. You hear a lot of this term when you talk about politics: Economic,” Rose said. “That’s what reminds me of this team versus last year. Here’s what I mean: A guy like Kemba Walker can get you to 20, 25-plus, but he doesn’t have to dominate the ball and have as many dribbles. You see that action, right? Throw it to the high post, drive and kick, scissor action, dribble handoff. He likes his little stepback where he puts people on skates. That’s the one thing I really like about Kemba, he’s really herky-jerky. He’s been like that since he was at UConn.”
Boston obviously signed Walker to be a face of the franchise, but we’ve already seen the eggs won’t entirely be put in his basket. It’s seemingly been a new hero for the Celtics every night within this active win streak, including Marcus Smart’s all-around performance against the Milwaukee Bucks, Jayson Tatum’s game-winner against the New York Knicks and Gordon Hayward’s 39-point outburst against the Cleveland Cavaliers.
We’re just over a tenth of the way through the campaign, so we should try not to go overboard with the C’s hype. But at a minimum, it already feels safe to say this season’s team will be far easier to root for than the 2018-19 squad.