The Celtics started off the 2020-21 NBA season strong, and most assumed Boston only would improve upon Kemba Walker’s return.
That hasn’t been the case. Not even close.
The C’s owned an 8-3 record when Walker returned to game action in mid-January after missing the first month of the campaign due to a knee issue. Boston since has gone 7-13, with its latest defeat coming Tuesday in heartbreaking fashion in Dallas against Luka Doncic and the Mavericks.
Walker, of course, isn’t solely to blame for the Celtics’ recent struggles. But former Boston big man Kendrick Perkins is starting to wonder whether the veteran point guard is doing more bad than good for the C’s.
“I just don’t see Kemba fitting in no more,” Perkins said Tuesday on “Celtics Postgame Live,” as transcribed by NBC Sports Boston. “Like, to me, the Celtics look better without him on the floor. I mean, I’m sorry I’m being hard on Kemba and a little critical, but it’s just — he’s not filling that void right now on the offensive end and stepping up when it matters the most and on the defensive end he still is a liability.”
Defense never has been a strong suit of Walker’s, but his offensive struggles certainly are cause for concern. The 30-year-old has shot 39 percent or less from the floor in seven of his 16 games to date this season and only has eclipsed the 20-point threshold on six occasions. Those aren’t terrible marks for your average NBA player, but you expect more from a player of Walker’s caliber.
There still is plenty of time for both Walker and C’s to turn things around, as Wednesday night’s game against the Atlanta Hawks will mark the halfway point of Boston’s regular season. But given how the Celtics and their starting point guard have looked of late, it’s tough to have optimism in either party righting the ship and taking off.