If former Boston Celtics guard Kemba Walker could go back in time to the summer of 2020, he would probably change a few things. Or maybe he wouldn’t.
It’s tough to tell exactly where the veteran point guard stands after playing on an ailing knee during the Celtics’ run to the Eastern Conference finals that year in the NBA bubble.
Walker hasn’t been the same player since then, suiting up in 80 games over the last two seasons and not being nearly close to his former All-Star self. After having his career steeply deteriorate, it seems like Walker is second-guessing his decision to play for the Celtics during that playoff run while not at 100%.
“Some regrets there but I love to play basketball; I’m a competitor,” Walker told The Boston Globe’s Gary Washburn while in attendance for Friday’s Celtics preseason road contest against the Charlotte Hornets. “We were deep in the playoffs. It was a once-in-a-lifetime type opportunity. It happens. I’m pretty sure if I was in the same situation, I probably would still play. No regrets.”
Walker’s answer is perplexing because on one hand he regrets playing, but he seemed to couch it at the end of his comment.
It’s pretty clear though that averaging 36.9 minutes in 17 playoff games in the bubble had a severe impact on Walker. After the Celtics lost in six games to the Miami Heat, Walker struggled to play back-to-backs the following year in his final season in Boston before being ineffective last season with the New York Knicks.
The 32-year-old told Washburn his knee feels healthy right now, but it’s somewhat uncertain who Walker is going to play for this upcoming season as he’s trying to come to terms on a buyout agreement with the Detroit Pistons. So, that relegated Walker to just being a bystander Friday as he watched his two former teams battle it out with thoughts of the past certainly still on his mind.
This will also make Celtics fans ponder if in the future Robert Williams will regret his decision to play on a surgically-repaired last year in the postseason. But unlike Walker, Williams has been firm about his feelings on his choice to suit up.