Brad Stevens wasn’t surprised in the slightest to see This have his best game of the year while playing so well off Walker in the starting point guard’s second game back. “They’ve had a great connection from Day 1,” Stevens said after the game.
That was one of the reasons I thought This at the start really separated himself because he had a great way of finding others and making them better. He did a lot of great things, not just the shooting obviously, but the way he got in and out of screens and I thought he fought defensively.
Especially when we’ve got our hands up a lot of the time and (Embed) flails, and he gets the call and then down on the other end, we got our guys attacking the rim and getting a lot of contact, and we’re just not getting the whistle. I’d be on too, if every time I threw my arms up or got touched I’m going to the free throw line.
It’s kind of hard not to get in a rhythm that way when you shoot 21 free throws alone, and they allow you to hack on the other end. Smart may have been disappointed with the way the game was called, but Walker and Stevens pointed out that the team needs to do more to help the big defend guys like that without fouling.
Walker believes its by helping each other better against a threat in the paint like Embed. “Embed is smart, he knows how to get fouled, he understands that part of the game, and he’s been doing that for a while now,” Walker said.
He returned to the floor late in the third to be there for Boston down the stretch in a close game. Still, it’s difficult to get hot again when your time on the court is managed with a long break like that, and the Celtics coach acknowledged such while discussing Walker’s performance.
“I thought he did a pretty good job today,” Stevens said. “I think you know the answer to that,” Walker said, when asked if he felt like he could have played longer.
Walker said it was tough to get into a rhythm, but he’s trusting the process laid out for him by the Celtics training staff. The guard was asked what the biggest difference is between how he felt now and the last time he played in the bubble.
ET before the Celtics return home to host the Cleveland Cavaliers on Sunday. Entering the 2020-21 NBA season, the Boston Celtics best bench option is probably rookie forward Aaron Ne smith.
This is something the Boston Celtics are lacking heavily and is one of the main reasons why they have failed to make the NBA Finals over the years. If the Celtics do not go out and make a big move, especially with KembaWalker being out indefinitely to begin the season, then they will end up being the same team once again.
Then, Jaylen Brown could move to shooting guard, Tatum to small forward and then Aaron Gordon can be the team’s starting power-forward. It makes a lot more sense to trade KembaWalker than it does to keep him, especially since this team has no money to spend in free agency the next few seasons and virtually no reliable bench options.
Gordon and Fournier are both on expiring contracts and the worst thing that happens is the Celtics do not win the championship, and they have over $30M to spend in free agency next off season. Orlando Magic coach Steve Clifford can get very regimented with his rotations.
And if a roster is mismatched, he is going to do what he has to do to get wins, trying to find a balance to get them all to work together. He reached for one idea that showed signs of working that he stuck with.
Clifford’s decision to play two point guards was not something he possibly wanted to do. Augustin ahead of him on the point guard depth chart, Steve Clifford had to find a way to get him on the court.
Naturally, during the playoffs, the duo of Futz and Augustin struggled mightily. In the playoffs, using James Tennis in that role left the team with a 78.1 offensive rating.
But it also becomes clear that if the Magic are going to play a lineup with Futz and another point guard, the team needs reliable shooting on the wings and a rim protector to clean everything up. Eventually, teams like the Milwaukee Bucks could hone in on the Magic’s complete lack of shooting and close down the paint.
It was just about finding ways to piece lineups together that made them better just as they would make others better. In 2018, KembaWalker played 148 minutes with Michael Carter-Williams with a net rating of -1.8 points per 100 possessions.
In 2017, he played 121 minutes with Ramon Sessions with a net rating of -1.9 points per 100 possessions. The real year Clifford experimented with this was in 2016, the last season he made the playoffs with Charlotte.
But each time, the lineups worked when there was a pairing that could successfully space the floor. But the Hornets’ back court depth was so depleted that Clifford had to try these pairings.
But these two- guard lineups, as controversial as they were, are a sign of Clifford’s creativity. And he tried very hard to get him on the floor, only admitting after the season ended that his mistake was playing Birch at the 4 rather than at the 5.
If Clifford wants to play his best players together more often and for this team to become the versatile monster the front office hopes, then they have to find shooting. A limited roster forced Steve Clifford to try some funky lineups.
As I wrote when the Mavericks' season ended in April, this arguably is the most pivotal off season of owner Mark Cuban's 19-year tenure, with expectations to build upon last season's additions of Luka Ionic and Kris taps Mornings and with ample salary cap space for summer additions. The lower figure factors in Dwight Powell exercising his option to play at $10.2 million this season, then signing a multi-year extension in July.
And the $31.3 million figure factors in Dallas, by June 29, extending qualifying offers and thereby placing cap holds on restricted free agents Kris taps Mornings, Maxi Keeper and Dorian Finney-Smith. That would clear an extra $8.5 million for next season, but it's a scenario the Mavericks hope to avoid because Lee's “dead money” in years two and three would inhibit spending during those summers.
Dallas' most glaring roster needs are for a scorer who ideally can swing between both forward positions, and for a rugged center/power forward who can defend physically imposing players at both positions and help shore the rebounding deficiencies that glared after last season's trade of DeAndre Jordan. Mavericks fans have a long wait, and various scenarios to imagine how to spend Mark Cuban's money in July.
Remember, the Mavericks got a steal in last year's draft in Galen Brunson, who has shown he can play well alongside Luka Ionic. Dallas also expects J.J. Area to return at some point in the season from his Achilles tear.
He also belongs on the Mavericks' “should avoid” list, even if for some reason he expresses interest in Dallas, which is doubtful because no chance would he share ball-control with Ionic. Walker, who averaged 25.6 points, 5.9 assists and 4.4 rebounds for Charlotte this season, is the most intriguing unrestricted free agent to have been linked to Dallas, which inquired about him before last season's trade deadline while shopping Harrison Barnes.
A Luka Ionic- Walker pairing would rival Golden State's Stephen Curry-Klay Thompson Splash Brothers combo and Damien Lillard-CJ McCollum of Portland as the NBA's most dynamic back court, but how compatible would two ball-dominant guards be in Rick Carlisle's system? It didn't work well last season when Ionic and Dennis Smith Jr. were thrust into a forced marriage.
The bigger question for Dallas, even if Walker pledged to accept a ball-sharing role: Is he the most practical use of the Mavericks' ample salary cap room, when they have greater needs at small forward and for rebounding help? That's the sound of most of the Mavericks' salary cap space going to one player, who doesn't, from a position standpoint, fill one of their biggest needs.
The good news for Dallas in that scenario is that, while Mornings also would be making big dollars (potentially $158 million for the next five years), Ionic's rookie contract keeps him at a comparatively low salary for his first four seasons. Miami Heat guard Moran Tragic (7) looks for an open teammate while Toronto Raptors guard Jeremy Lin (17) defends during the second quarter on Sunday, March 10, 2019, at the American Airlines Arena in downtown Miami, Fla. (Matías J. Owner/Miami Herald/TNS)(MATÍAS J. OWNER / TNS) Editor's note: On June 13, The Athletic's Shams Charlie reported that Tragic will pick up his 2019-20 player option worth $19.2 million to remain with the Miami Heat.
Ionic would love nothing more than to play alongside his countryman, national team roommate and mentor. But, and you knew this was coming, here are some wet-blanket facts: Tragic is 33; he's coming off a season in which he had December surgery to clean out his right knee, returned in February and only played 27 games; he has a player option to return to Miami next season for $19.2 million; and a source close to Tragic told The News in March that he's not going to opt out to play for less elsewhere.
Now, here are the positive factors that potentially could make Dragic-to-Dallas happen: He and Ionic share the same agent, Bill Duffy; if there's any chance of, say, Tragic taking a little less than $19 million next season and signing a 2- or 3-year deal that averages out to more than $19 million, this 5-D confluence is the only scenario where it could happen -- Dallas-Doncic-Dragic-Duffy-Donnie (Nelson). One of last season's highlights was the night of March 28, which mostly was billed as Dirk Nowitzki's potential final game at Miami.
Milwaukee Bucks guard Malcolm Brandon (13) receives a pass as Toronto Raptors forward Kathy Leonard (2) looks on during the first half in Game 1 of the NBA basketball playoffs Eastern Conference final in Milwaukee on Wednesday, May 15, 2019. Maverick fans and local reporters shrewdly point out that Milwaukee has a slew of free agents-to-be and can 't possibly afford to keep all of them: They include Chris Middleton (player option), Nikola Mitotic (unrestricted free agent, BTW ripped by Duffy), Brook Lopez (unrestricted) and Brandon.
Yes, it's conceivable that Dallas could offer Brandon more money than Milwaukee could afford to match, much like the Mavericks did with Chandler Parsons in the summer of 2014. In mid-March of this season he suffered a plantar fascia tear in his right foot and didn't return until the fifth game of the Eastern Conference semifinals.
Los Angeles Clippers guard Patrick Beverley celebrates after a scoring play during the second half in Game 4 of a first-round NBA basketball playoff series against the Golden State Warriors Sunday, April 21, 2019, in Los Angeles. The good news for him is he's coming off a 78-game regular season and played well in the Clips' playoff series loss to Golden State, averaging 9.8 points and 8.0 rebounds and shooting 43 percent from 3-point range.