Kemba Walker continues to be eased back into action due to a nagging left knee injury, but his performance through the Boston Celtics’ first two games of the NBA restart is encouraging.
Even with limited playing time, Walker has stood out as one of the best players on the court. The C’s guard tallied 16 points in 19 minutes vs. the Milwaukee Bucks on Friday, and 14 in 22 minutes vs. the Portland Trail Blazers on Sunday.
All signs point to Walker being on the verge of 100 percent, and the thought of that has his Celtics teammate Enes Kanter excited about what’s to come.
Kanter raved about Walker in a brand new episode of The Enes Kanter Show and made it clear that opponents will have their hands full with the All-Star when he’s fully healthy.
Enes Kanter Show: It could get ugly for opponents when Kembas healthy | Listen & subscribe | Watch on YouTube
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“Once he’s 100 percent in game shape, like, oh my god. It’s going to be ugly for other teams,” Kanter said. “Because like, that’s Kemba Walker. He was in my draft class. I played against him for nine years and I hated going against him.
“I knew there’d come a day where he’s gonna be fine. Even if he doesn’t play for months and months, it’s just in his blood. He just can go out there and just hoop. He’s just a hooper, that’s it.”
Celtics head coach Brad Stevens has been extremely cautious with Walker, sticking to a strict minutes restriction through the first couple of games in the Orlando bubble.
Walker understands Stevens’ approach and isn’t one to complain, but it hasn’t been easy for him to watch his Celtics teammates compete without him.
“Oh man, he’s dying [for more minutes],” Kanter said with a laugh. “Especially like the last few minutes of the game. I mean, he’s a game-changer. He’s a leader and a game-changer, you know? He wants to be out there and just take ownership. But now Brad is like, ‘OK, this is just the beginning, take it easy. We’ve got a long way to go.’
“But I think that just shows his heart, man. This dude just signed one of the biggest shoe deals out there. He can just say, ‘You know what, I’m just gonna rest.’ But no, he just wants to go out there and be with his teammates and win. He even wants to go out there and play 25-30 minutes in exhibition games. That shows character, man. And leadership.”
Also discussed on the show: Kanter describes the emotion of players kneeling during the national anthem, Jaylen Browns leadership on and off the court, Grant Williams basketball IQ, and the inside scoop behind Jayson Tatums haircut.
You can listen and subscribe to The Enes Kanter Show here, or watch on YouTube.