The Boston Celtics went through a lot of change during the 2019 offseason. The team lost Kyrie Irving and Al Horford to free agency, and while they added Kemba Walker and Enes Kanter to their squad, many have been bearish on the Celtics' chances of finding success in a wide-open Eastern Conference.
However, not all have viewed the team as a candidate for regression, and Celtics legend Paul Pierce thinks the team will be fine moving forward. He said as much in a recent interview and didn't think the team was much worse for wear after Irving's departure.
“I never thought they were in a bad position, even with Kyrie leaving,” Pierce said to Steve Bulpett of The Boston Herald. “I mean, you’ve still got a chance to develop the young guys. And I think Kemba Walker is a great pickup. They’re still a threat in the East. But even before they signed Kemba, I thought they were all right.”
Pierce's confidence likely stems from the fact that during the team's 2018 playoff run, the young players on the team -- like Jayson Tatum and Jaylen Brown -- stepped up big-time when more was asked of them. Despite their success, the team struggled to find roles for all of their talent during the 2019 season. That led to some of the locker-room friction and chemistry issues that ultimately derailed the team.
And as Pierce pointed out, while the team may look less talented on paper, they still could fit well together and exceed expectations.
"I mean, talent don’t always win," said Pierce to Bulpett. "We’ve seen that plenty of times. It’s about fit. Who knows if Kemba’s going to be the right fit, because it’s always about more than basketball. It’s about how you get along with your teammates and how the chemistry is. And that’s a strength of Kemba’s, so hopefully it’ll work out.”
If Walker can provide close to what Irving provided on the court while strengthening the locker room, the Celtics will be more than pleased with their decision to sign him. The team made his four-year, $141 million contract official on Saturday when the moratorium on acquisitions was lifted.
Walker will wear No. 8 with the Celtics. That number had previously been worn by Antoine Walker during his stint with the team in the early 2000s.
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