Will Bill Walker Be Different?

He’s an athletic 3 with ridiculous jumping skills, enough promise to make you think the future of the franchise will be safe in his hands.

In 2001, that was what Celtics fans thought of Kedrick Brown.

After a few seasons of that not working out, Gerald Green came along and assumed that role.

Now Gerald is out, and Bill Walker is in.

The Celtics have spent this entire millennium looking for the next, great small forward.  It began as the search for a back up to Paul Pierce.  Then, for a short time, there was some talk about finding the guy who made Pierce expendable.  And now, it’s about taking the torch from Pierce when he’s ready to pass it.

Pierce is approaching the end of his career.  He’s got a few years left, which is just enough time to really groom the guy who will be taking over for him.  So will Bill Walker be the one small forward who actually lives up to the expectations?

Brown’s problem was that we might have over-estimated his abilities.  We were enthralled by his leaping ability, and it colored our opinion of his game.  He never quite had the ability to do what we wanted him to do.  He also took an unusually long time to come back from what we thought were minor injuries.

Green’s problem was, and continues to be, an inability to grasp the schemes.  He’s an amazing individual talent, but he simply doesn’t have the right mindset.  He can’t work within the flow of the offense.  He never really developed as a defender.  He can go one-on-one and he can be a scoring threat… but he tends to score at the detriment of his team.

Walker, however, seems to have the offensive skills that Brown lacked.  And, according to his teammates, he’s got the strong mind that eludes Gerald Green.

“I’m telling you this right now, the kid’s going to be a really good player in our league some day,” Garnett said. “When coaches are (expletive) with him, he doesn’t bitch and moan. He comes right back in the drill and he goes at it. He’s getting a lot of respect around here with the veterans.

“The kid’s a good kid. We’ve got a lot of strong personalities around here, and he’s no different. But he understands he’s a young’un, and he works hard. That’s what you want from someone who’s young – come in here and bust your (butt). He does that.

“If he’s in there and he knows he has to make it tough for a guy like LeBron (James), then he’s going to do that.”

Walker is in a tough spot because there simply aren’t many minutes for him right now.  But there was no way a rookie was going to get much time on a team with the Big 3, and other established guys with a stronger grasp of the offense and defense.  But the beauty of being on this team, even with the lack of minutes, is the biggest advantage he has over Green and Brown.  There is absolutely zero pressure on him.

Brown and Green were in losing situations.  The team and fans were looking for help to return the team to prominence.  It put a sharp, and perhaps unfair, focus on two very young people.  Walker has no pressure to perform right away.  He can sit and learn from the masters.  He can go through a playoff run and, hopefully, a championship parade.  He’ll learn what it’s like to be great from those who already are.  Think of him as the Celtics version of Matt Cassel.  Not a ton of expectations and plenty of time to practice and learn from one of the best.  Some day, Walker will be pressed into service.  And because he was in the right situation for the right amount of time, Walker might just become the guy the Celtics have been looking for all these years.

24 Responses

  1. I hope he’s the guy. He’s got energy. These past several games, it seems like Rondo has taken Walker under his wings… I think it was Gorman or somebody several games ago who noticed Rondo pointing out defensive schemes to Walker, and commented that Rondo was “the veteran.” It might be a sign of what’s to come in the future.

  2. Really no comparison here.

    Green was maybe the least physically player in the league. Walker is a very physical, tough defender.

    Also, Doc is on the record saying that Bill Walker is more of a 4 than a 3. He says that if Bill is going to establish himself in the league, it will likely be as a power forward.

    Green has a smoot jumper, and ridiculous athleticsm.
    Walker doesn’t have any jump shot, has 75% of Green’s athleticsm, but has what’s most important: A Garnett like mindset + the willingness and ability to play D.

  3. Hey, KG was right about the other young guy on our team he heaped praise on (Rondo). Let’s hope he’s right about this one too.

  4. Good read. Keep up the good work.

  5. Kind of a random topic right now, but bill walker, at his best, is a second fiddle player, he played that role with OJ Mayo in High school, and Michael Beasley in college, hes absolutely never going to be a franchise player or a Paul Pierce. I love KGs quote, and I think Bill Walker can be a good player in the NBA as well, just not a paul pierce…

  6. Tim – Bill Walker actually does have a jumpshot, and a pretty good one at that…. thats just not what the celtics want him doing

  7. And since we’re talking about billy walker, look at this clip of him talking about who the best player in the NBA is (when he was in college) he says camelo anthony at first, haha…he mustve been sleeping on paul p, whos such a better player

    He also doesnt like lebron ;-)

  8. I’m with Tim-don’t think Walker is the same type of player as Gerald Green. Walker has a better basic skill-set and better fundamentals. Also, Walker has one big thing that Green didn’t/doesn’t-meat on his bones. Walker will surely gain more weight/muscle in the next few years, as most NBA’ers do, but he is already a tank compared to Green. He will banging with the best of ‘em for years to come (as long as he stays healthy)…

  9. BTW..an interesting little tidbit about today’s C’s-Cavs game here: http://www.boston.com/sports/basketball/celtics/extras/celtics_blog/2009/04/kennedy_to_offi.html

  10. To Correct Tim, Doc is actually on record, as of very recently saying that Walker is much more of a 2 guard than a 3. He thinks that walker will be a 2 guard in this league not a forward and he does have a jump shot. The only thing that makes me believe walker can’t live up to franchise player status is because his nagging injuries. He’s already blown out his knee 3 times and hes a rookie. It’s hard to believe it won’t happen more and more

  11. Man Slaughter in the Q today. 9 pt 1st quarter. WTF!

  12. This is insane, the celtics look pathetic right now. These sunday afternoon games really don’t play to our fancy

  13. These games at the Q don’t really play to our fancy..lol

  14. thank God the Sox are on today

  15. Sideshow bob has no balls.

  16. I’m putting this on BigMck for making fun of AV. Good going man.

  17. Cavs dancing on the bench, taking air photographs, Lebron playing the air guitar while the Celtics were down by over 30 points. Celtics walked the ball up the court every single time, no energy and the Cavs simply out played us on both ends of the court. Celtics got so frustrated even Ray Allen lost it and tried to elbow Varajunk in his coochie. Out of character for our top guns where was Captain Pierce? Very disappointing shooting performance. He had good looks just didn’t fall today. Joe Smith clearly out played Mikki Moore (Joe made an effort to show the world he was the better free agent pick up. (And he was). We should be fine once KG and Powe comes back healthy. Just a tough lose to swallow today.

  18. Absolutely wrong double P…. I will try to find an interview or two to support my case.

  19. This post is a joke.
    Bill Walker has done absolutely nothing to prove to anyone that he is then next franchise player.
    The man can leap, so could Gerald, Brown, hell even Tony Allen can leap, but where is his jump shot? And how is he already being perceived as a player with great understanding to read plays, offensively and defensively, he has not proved this what so ever. Granted, he has not had the playing time to do so, but my point exactly, he has not proven anything other then his jumping ability.

    I am a fan of Bill Walker, how ever i can not say with any confidence that he will be the next franchise player of the Boston Celtics. I think that Gerald Green, still in this league mind you, he has a greater chance of becoming a solid player for whatever team, basked on his talent. Talent means everything, surround gerald green by the 2009 boston celtics and you will see his work ethic rise, thats the same for any player so of course Bill Walker will be inflounced.

    Are you all forgetting that “the next big thing” started a fight with T-mac, or even worse, his own team mate Kevin Garnett.

  20. Walker should never be a 4 and if that’s what Doc is saying then I that’s bad judgment. Very bad at that. Not nearly tall enough! So if that’s the case lose him after this season or next bec at 6’5″ he’ll be guarding athletic 6’10″+ through his career…ie. Impossible.

    As for Pierces replacement! No one will ever be Pierce but that said there are not many forwards with his arsenal and I don’t think he was a great 2 either before Ray arrived. Pierce is unique. As for a jumpshot. Look how good a couple of the Sonics players got back in the 90’s by just working and working. He could be a 2 or 3 time all star. Peirce will never be replaced.

    You had best hope Walker turn into something as well because the big three have about 2 years left and then we need others to step up.

  21. Actually Baron, in high school, Walker was rated higher in some camps that both Mayo and Beasley. He got hurt and had some personal issues that affected the development of his game. ESPN had a great article about him last year before the NCAA season.

    Bill Walker is by far the most talented of these three high-flyers. The difference is that he has KG, Ray, and Pierce to observe and learn from. I’m going to listen to the guys that play NBA basketball for a living and agree that Walker will have a productive career.

    During his rookie year, did any of you guys honestly think that Rondo would become the player he is today? It’s the classic case of a kid that flies under the radar and is eclipsed by the bigger names in his high school class.

  22. [...] Army This will come back to haunt Cleveland Let’s just pretend this never happened Will Bill Walker be different? Sporting News Then and now, your weekly NBA digest Ohio.com Cavs primed for playoffs Hoopsworl [...]

  23. You already found the next great small forward and you traded him away………Joe Johnson!!!

  24. Wow.

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