Antoine Walker is beloved by Boston Celtics fans for his shimmy and his candor.
Boston’s sixth overall pick in the 1996 NBA draft out of the University of Kentucky, Walker was a three-time All-Star and a member of the NBA’s All-Rookie team in 1997.
Walker’s talent really shined in the eyes of many when the Celtics paired him with Paul Pierce. The duo of Pierce and Walker blossomed during the 2001-02 season when the Jim O’Brien team boasted a 49-33 record and made their first NBA Playoffs appearance in seven years. Walker’s stat sheet was amazing 22.0 points and 5 assists per contest.
The Celtics made it all the way to the NBA’s Eastern Conference Finals, but would eventually lose in six games to a talented New Jersey Nets team that was guided by Byron Scott and featured Jason Kidd, Kenyon Martin, Keith Van Horn and Richard Jefferson.
Walker is currently an analyst on FS1 and on a recent episode of the Heavy Live With Scoop B Show, Walker shares that he’s enjoying the Boston Celtics’ Eastern Conference semifinals matchup against the Toronto Raptors.
“I love the series,” Walker told me.
“The Celtics are doing much better than I thought. I thought that they were going to have problems; I didn’t know how healthy Kemba Walker was and I thought you know, he was not 100% and I’m not sure where he’s at but, he’s playing pretty good. I was worried about him, I thought that they were going to miss Gordon (Hayward); when you take 17.5 points out your lineup, you usually miss that. I know the Celtics have three guys that can score 20 points but I thought that they would miss Gordon a little bit. And I worried about the size of the Celtics. I thought – I didn’t know Robert Williams who is playing great would play as good as he’s been playing. I worried about him a little bit. But they’ve surprised me. They’ve played some terrific basketball.”
Walker’s first stint with the Celtics went from 1996-2003. ‘Toine was traded to the Atlanta Hawks and then the Dallas Mavericks before finding his way back to Boston in a trade with the Hawks on February 24, 2005 in a deal surrounding Gary Payton, Tom Gugliotta, Michael Stewart and a first-round draft pick.
Walker is also impressed with the Raptors’ play. “One thing you got to understand about Toronto is Toronto is a veteran team,” he told me on the Heavy Live With Scoop B Show.
“They won last year. That group has been in some battles. They’re playoff tough now and they play together. It’s a hard team to prepare for because they really don’t have a star. I think Kyle Lowry is a very, very good player. Pascal Siakam could be a good player in this league where he can be considered one of the elites; he’s not there yet. I know he made the All-Star team, but he’s not there yet. On any given night Fred VanVleet could be their best player. But I thought that their size would give the Celtics problems; Gasol and Serge Ibaka would give them some problems inside and the Celtics have handled them really, really well. I think it’s a seven game series and I’ma be honest with you, I don’t know. One thing I’m sure about that it’s going to seven but you know how Game 7’s go. It can be the 5th best guy. It could be Marcus Smart hitting five 3’s in a quarter and the Celtics win the series. So, it’s one of those things. I mean, obviously I’m going to root for the Celtics in this moment, but I think it’s going seven games. A great series.”