And while longtime contributor Marcus Smart will help, Boston could be looking at newly implemented Celtics to shoulder the load.
Of course, one of those first-year Celtics — Jeff Teague — is an NBA veteran of 11 years. Others like second-year player Tremont Waters and 2020 first-rounder Payton Pritchard, however, are getting their first real taste of NBA experience.
Walker, though, expressed his eagerness to help those younger players. And he acknowledged how he’ll be able to do so since he’s starting the season on the sideline.
“It?s important. It?s important,” Walker responded when asked how crucial it will be for the young players to develop due to the Celtics’ situation. “Obviously, I think we know what Jeff can do. And then you know, Tremont and Payton, guys who we’re going to have to stay on top of. I think a lot of that will be up to me, since I will be out.”
Waters returns after playing 11 games in Boston (one start) last season. He averaged just shy of 11 minutes in those 11 appearances while Pritchard is fresh out of Oregon and drafted by the Celtics just last month.
“I’m going to try my best to take those guys under my wing,” Walker added. “You know, I already had (Tremont), we spent a lot of time together, we talk all the time. That?s my little brother. So, now that we got to add Payton, starting to get to know him, show him the ropes. Just get him acclimated, which he’s been doing a job at thus far.
“The staff has been working with those guys, getting them better. It?s going to be a fun year. Great opportunity for those guys to learn and grow and just get better each and every day. So, I’m excited for those guys.”
The veteran presence of Teague should complement Walker and Smart well. Walker, specifically, noted how he’s excited to have the former NBA All-Star join him Boston after years of Eastern Conference clashes. Head coach Brad Stevens also expressed much of the same, depicting that he expects Teague to play a large role throughout the season.