One of the first things you'll notice about Kemba Walker is he's an excellent scorer.
The new Boston Celtics point guard can drive to the basket and finish at the rim, he shoots well from 3-point range and he can create his own shot off the dribble. Walker averaged a career-high 25.6 points per game for the Charlotte Hornets last season and was named to the All-NBA third team.
Scoring isn't Walker's only talent, though. He's not a bad defender, either, and his Celtics (and Team USA) teammate Marcus Smart recently gave a positive review of the UConn product's defensive abilities in an interview with NBA.com's Sekou Smith.
“For me, I’ve noticed that Kemba can really play defense when he wants to do it,” Smart said and then laughed. “You know it’s tough, when you see how much energy he had to exert on the offensive end [in Charlotte], but he’s actually a really good defensive player, especially at his size. You find out that the little guys are usually more feisty and tenacious. But he can play defense and you didn’t really see that or notice that because he had so much of a load on him offensively that it was probably harder for him to do that.”
Smart certainly knows what good defense looks like. He's one of the best perimeter defenders in the league and was a first team All-Defense selection last season.
Walker and Smart should be on the floor quite a bit together late in games for the Celtics this season, so the opportunity to learn each other's tendencies this summer playing for USA Basketball should accelerate their chemistry building when C's training camp begins.
The Celtics have been a strong defensive team for most of Brad Stevens' tenure as head coach, so if Walker can help maintain that success, Boston should again be among the most well-rounded teams in the league next season.
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