Celtics

Celtics

BOSTON -- Kemba Walker is as eager as any of his Celtics teammates to get through training camp and the preseason slate of games and on to the games that really matter.

Still, that anxiousness has to be balanced with the reality that there’s a lot he still needs to know and learn and be comfortable with before he can truly be equipped for success in his first season as a Boston Celtic. 

That's why this season, more than any other Walker has had in the NBA, requires him to be patient both with himself and his new teammates.

That’ll likely be evident in some form today at the team’s Fan Fest event, which will be held at the TD Garden. 

It’ll be Walker’s first time suiting up on the parquet as a member of the Celtics.  

While it’s nothing more than a more glamorized practice, Walker says today will be special. 

“Being part of this organization, to see the fans out there, cheering … this is when it starts to be really, really real, that I’m a Celtic,” Walker told NBC Sports Boston. “I’m looking forward to it.”

The first few days of practice have served as a reminder to players that these preseason practices, much like the NBA season, are filled with peaks and valleys regardless of how long they’ve been in the league. 

“There’s going to be some growing pains,” he said. “I’ve been having some good moments. And then I’ve had some moments when I look … like I’m just out there. But I’m learning. That’s how it’s going to be; that’s how it’s supposed to be in training camp.”

 

Celtics guard Marcus Smart echoed similar sentiments about Walker's first few days. 

“It’s been good.  But it’s been a little challenging just like it would be for anyone else in that situation. But it’s fun,” Smart said. 

Walker is undoubtedly the best player on the team, something no one is debating. 

And yet, when it comes to asking for clarification or a better understanding of what has to happen on a particular play or anything along those lines, Walker has not been shy about asking questions. 

“He’s ready to learn. He knows he’s coming into a different system,” Smart said. “But for him to be able to look himself in the mirror…He’s still willing to take a backseat right now from the guys who have been here, [it] is something that helps us as a team.”

Smart was asked if it was refreshing that Walker comes in not knowing everything. 

“It is,” Smart said. “You gotta guy like Kemba who is an All-Star; he can go out there and...we’ve all seen what he can do. For him to not know everything and he’s asking questions, he’s letting guys feel comfortable enough to say, ‘If I don’t know something I should be able to ask.”’

Unlike most players in camp, Walker isn’t out there trying to do anything other than what he has done over the course of his NBA career which includes a trio of All-Star appearances and this past season, a spot on the All-NBA third team. 

That positioned the 29-year-old for a massive payday to the tune of $140.8 million over four seasons. 

Even with such an impressive resume of accomplishments, Walker has fully embraced that there will be some all-too-predictable hurdles along the journey. 

“Can’t rush the process. I signed a four-year deal, right?” Walker said before grinning, “I’ll be here for a little bit.”

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