Antoine Walker likes a lot of things about the 2019-20 Boston Celtics, but he also can sense looming danger.
The former Celtics forward offered a positive assessment of this season’s team Friday during his appearance on Sirius XM NBA Radio. He praised stars Jaylen Brown, Gordon Hayward, Jayson Tatum and Kemba Walker, but also warned the Celtics might regret failing to replace Al Horford, who left Boston for the Philadelphia 76ers last summer in free agency.
“Losing Al Horford really hurts because of his versatility, being able to guard bigs, shoot the three” Walker said. “They didn’t really replace him, so they may need to make a move there.
“I think Gordon Hayward can be great. It’s just unfortunate that he had some injuries. Sometimes that happens. I thought he was playing great this year before he hurt his thumb. He’ll get back to being at the level that he needs to be at.
“But I think they’re right there. When you look at the best teams in the East with Milwaukee and obviously Philly, I thought Philly put a slapping on them last night (Thursday), but besides that, they’re right there in the mix.
“But I do think not having Al Horford really hurts them. Losing him and his versatility, especially with the way the game is now, can come back and backfire on them if they’re not able to make a move.
“I love what Jayson Tatum and Jaylen Brown did, getting back to being aggressive, playing good basketball. And then obviously Kemba Walker, this is a huge step for him being able to be on the big stage. In Charlotte, he kind of got lost. He made a couple All-Star teams, but people really don’t know how good Kemba Walker can be and he’s getting the opportunity to do it on a bigger stage.
— SiriusXM NBA Radio (@SiriusXMNBA) January 10, 2020
Walker hasn’t said much about this season’s Celtics team, so his insights are timely and relevant. His warning also resonates in light of Thursday night’s loss to Philadelphia, which extended the Celtics’ losing streak to three games for the first time this season.
Mounting speculation claims the Celtics won’t make any deals prior to the Feb. 6 NBA trade deadline but will look to add a big man from the buyout market, instead. While we don’t know yet whether doing so will strengthen their challenge for Eastern Conference supremacy, but failing to act on Walker’s warning might spark a letdown after such a promising start to the campaign.
Thumbnail photo via Bill Streicher/USA TODAY Sports Images