When the Boston Celtics traded for Kemba Walker in 2019 in exchange for Terry Rozier via a sign-and-trade with the Charlotte Hornets, Walker and the Celtics’ trajectory sky-rocketed; as so did the expectations.
Fresh off the best scoring season of his career, Walker inked a four-year, $140.7 million deal with the Celtics. He averaged 25.6 points throughout 2018-19 and then went on to play in 56 games throughout the regular season for the Celtics while averaging 20.4 points and 4.8 assists.
Walker missing 10+ games in one season was unpreceded. The nagging knee injury that plagued the second half of the regular season along with a deep playoff run raised immediate concerns at the start of the offseason.
And after receiving a stem cell injection in his left knee, Walker and the Celtics will look to re-evaluate Kemba’s injury in January before setting an appropriate timetable for his return.
Kemba Walker: ‘I Never Got Into A Season Setting Expectations’
In a recent interview with NBC Sports Boston’s Chris Forsberg, the All-Star point guard gave us an update on his recovery and how he isn’t setting any expectations for himself or his team, this season. In fact, it’s nothing new, it’s the same approach Kemba’s always had.
“I never go into a season with expectations,” Walker said. “Just because you never know – you never know what can happen during the course of a season. You know, injuries happen and things happen throughout the course of a season. But I do feel like we have a great team and I think we can do some special things but it’s going to be up to us. It’s going to be up to us. We’ve got to work hard. We got to get better.
“We got to sacrifice – which we have the guys willing to do those things. I’m excited. I’m excited about this team.”
Kemba Walker On Jayson Tatum & Jaylen Brown’s Work Ethic: ‘They Do The Extra’
For two teammates willing to do the most, according to Walker, look no further than the Jayson Tatum and Jaylen Brown duo – a tandem that Walker got a closer look at last season and says he was truly blown away.
“I think it changed more so when I got here,” Walker said. “Don’t get it twisted, I knew how good they were but when you see it in person and when you see it every day that’s when things start to change. For me, the thing I love the most is how much they love the game. They love basketball; it’s the way I love basketball. They love to work on their games, they love to get better, you know, they do the extra, they ask questions, they soak in things like a sponge.
“Those two dudes are, like, special. I know I rave about them all the time and it’s true because I’m around these guys – I communicate with them every day. I talk to these guys all the time.”
Walker says it’s a testament to their respective upbringings.
“The kind of people that they are for their age it kind of blows my mind,” Walker added about Tatum and Brown. “I love being around those two dudes and that’s really a testament to their parents, you know? They both have great, great, great parents and their parents did an amazing job with those dudes. I love being around those guys.”