PLYMOUTH, Mass. — Yes, Kemba Walker is a three-time All-Star and is coming off a season in which he was named to the All-NBA Third Team.
Despite a disappointing seventh-place finish for Team USA during the FIBA Basketball World Cup in China, Walker did his part in leading the team in scoring and assists with 14.4 and 5.4, respectively.
But in a few days the Boston Celtics will open training camp and Walker, even with all his accomplishments and success as a pro, will be another new guy rockin’ a Celtics practice uniform trying to figure out where he fits in.
Celtics coach Brad Stevens is confident things will work out, but he knows all too well that there will be some ups and downs that come with the process.
“Once the season hits, he’ll be ready to roll,” Stevens said of Walker while attending the Celtics Shamrock Foundation Golf Tournament. “The biggest thing for him is … even though he is an All-Star and as good as he is, it’s still a transition.”
The 29-year-old Walker is entering his ninth NBA season, with the first eight all having been played for the Charlotte Hornets, where he leaves as the franchise’s all-time leading scorer with 12,009 points.
“A new city, a new team … those great players have a tendency to make those things look smooth,” Stevens said. “We just have to be cognizant as a staff of that, players of that.”
This is not new territory for the Celtics.
In the summer of 2016, it was Al Horford who arrived in Boston after spending his entire career with the Atlanta Hawks. Two years later, the offseason in Boston delivered Gordon Hayward and Kyrie Irving, who had been NBA lifers in Utah and Cleveland, respectively.
Now it’s Walker’s turn at the transition game in Boston after the Celtics and Hornets did a sign-and-trade in July that sent Terry Rozier to the Hornets.
During his introductory press conference in Boston, Walker didn’t mince words when describing why he was eager to become a Celtic after learning of Boston’s interest.
“For me, they’ve been winning for years. You see all the banners,” Walker said. “As a pro, I haven’t won consistently. I just want to get a taste of that.”
And while each of those players who arrived after a basketball lifetime elsewhere had their own individual circumstances that brought them to Boston, once they arrived they became the big-time new guy — just like Kemba Walker is right now.
“When we do a practice it’ll be as new to Kemba as it will to (rookie) Romeo Langford,” Stevens said. “It’s just a different deal now. He’ll (Walker) pick up things quickly because he’s a 29-year-old pro, but at the same time it’s just normal that there’s going to be some transition there.”
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