Wednesday, May 20, 2020

There’s a new Boston Celtics point guard in town, and his name is Kemba. 

This is my first piece as a Boston Celtics sports writer and I was not sure how I wanted to start. I am not a stat person or deal with analytics. So I figure to go with what I know best – the eye test.

For sure last year’s Boston Celtics team led by Kyrie Irving was one that was hard to love. Often times as fans we spent a lot of time trying to find out what exactly was wrong with this team. Although we knew we had the talent, the eye test showed that there was still something missing. We had some great moments where it seemed the team enjoyed being with each other. A few pics showing some great smiles and hugs. But it never seemed genuine I guess.

Sure, it made us as fans feel some semblance of hope that the media proclaimed Eastern Conference favorites were clicking on all cylinders. But again, that pesky eye test kept getting in the way. All season long with the back and forth finally culminating in a disappointing second round exit.

There was a sense of relief for many when Kyrie announced he was taking his talent to Brooklyn. If not for the possibility that whatever plagued this team could be fixed.

Although many of the players have not placed the blame at his feet, it is quite obvious that some were aware of his plans to exit way before the rest of us found out in June.  That awareness may have affected what was going on in the locker room. After spending months defending him, I was definitely on the “don’t let the door hit you” train.  I became on board with the full on youth movement, led by Marcus and the Jays right after the trade deadline

But when news came out that the Celtics were a serious destination spot for Kemba Walker, things started looking brighter. What I know of Kemba Walker, prior to his joining of the Celtics, is fit into one game from the 2018-2019 season.  Kemba single-handily delivered a beat down on a leading Celtics team in the fourth quarter, which led to an eventual loss 117-112.  This was after he dropped 60 points on the 76ers two nights before, and a mishmash of highlight reels.

It was not until he posted his farewell to Charlotte that I realized that he was going to be a great fit in Boston. It struck me then that he knew nothing about us as a fan base but he made sure to open up enough to let us know who he was, what kind of leader he wanted to be, and what he planned to deliver to this team. His words weren’t deep philosophy, it was straight to the point – I want to win. 

Based on his first interview after his press conference, Kemba realizes the importance of team chemistry, and recognizes that he can still lead. But it takes leading by example, and not being afraid to speak out on things when needed.  Also, realizing that you may be a great player, but you are surrounded by other great players too, is what makes a complete team.

Recent photos and interviews coming from the USA basketball team practices and media scrums are showing how comfortable Jaylen Brown and Jayson Tatum are with the Celtics new point guard. I have not seen smiles like this since the Celtics had that great postseason run in 2017-2018. It is clear that synergy is being built while these guys are playing to represent the USA team. As far as I am concerned that is a good thing. In order to play as a team, you have to trust each other.

No matter how many wins this teams has coming into the 2019-2020 season I for one am glad to look forward to seeing the Celtics play as a team again, and realizing individual success means nothing, it is all all about playing as a team and winning Banner 18.

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BleedingGreenBetty August 20, 2019 at 9:16 pm

Excellent article. Really sums up a lot of the frustration, anger and now hope many of us C’s fans habe experienced.

Tom Lane August 20, 2019 at 10:23 pm

Write what you know and feel. That’s what you did. Nicely done.

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