The Boston Celtics need to keep an eye on Kemba Walker’s knee
Walker, who was the Celtics’ marquee free-agent signing after the departure Kyrie Irving, was supposed to be the floor general that leads Boston for the foreseeable future. However, a knee issue could throw a wrench in that idea.
For most of his career, Kemba was been as steady as a point guard as they come, consistently playing at an all-star level and without having to miss much time due to injury. This season, he’s missed 14 games with a knee injury that was originally labeled as minor. Now, however, Kemba is already missing practices because of it.
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The Celtics are expected to place Kemba on a minute restriction when he returns, and there is legit concern regarding this injury. After what the Celtics went through with Kyrie and his own injury issues, the last thing Boston needs is more injury woes with their new starting point guard.
Boston has already said it will manage Kemba’s role in the restart, and that, unfortunately, poses a new question. With the 2020 NBA Draft in the not-so=distant future, equipped with three first-round picks, would this be the time for the Celtics to potentially look for some insurance for Kemba?
The Boston Celtics should target a point guard
Yes, the Celtics have other guards on their roster, and players capable of initiating the offense. At times, Marcus Smart can run the point and Gordon Hayward is an excellent facilitator as well, but the team still needs to have a true point guard who like Kemba is a serious threat on offense.
Then, there are the young unproven prospects of Carsen Edwards and Tremont Waters. Both guards have flashed various abilities that are useful for the team and worth building on but neither has shown legit starting potential in the NBA.
With the Celtics’ homegrown talent like Jayson Tatum nearing the time to get paid as well as the possible payment to retain Gordon Hayward with a salary cap situation that is still unknown due to the current pandemic, the Celtics won’t be able to pay for another starting quality point guard. They can draft one, though.
This year’s draft is ripe with guard talent all over the board and it would make sense that in some way the Celtics look to target a point guard during the draft. That could be in a trade up for a player like Killian Hayes or maybe select a player with a trait the Celtics really value in athleticism with one of their later picks.
Guards like Theo Maledon, Kira Lewis Jr., Devon Dotson, and Tre Jones could all be available in the range of the Celtics three draft picks and any one of them could fit perfectly with the team due to the scenario they’d play in.
What the Celtics should look to do is have a point guard situation that is much like what Toronto had this season with Kyle Lowry and Fred VanVleet. Though VanVleet has now developed into a combo guard in the same way Boston has in Marcus Smart, he was initially a valuable secondary point guard.
Having a young point guard who can grow and develop but then also step in for Kemba Walker at times when his knee needs to be managed would be an ideal move for Danny Ainge.
It wouldn’t be an uncommon plan for the Celtics either. In the past, the team has drafted Avery Bradley to serve as the eventual replacement to Ray Allen and even recently the team drafted Robert Williams III with the hope that one day he could’ve succeeded Al Horford (who has now moved on).
Being a successful team in the modern NBA is about consistently growing players from the draft to play valuable roles with a team, and Boston has done a pretty good job with that for the most part in recent years. That is why with three first-round picks in hand, it would be wise for the Celtics to possibly draft a long-term point guard as the team continues to manage Kemba Walker’s health.