As is the case with most NBA players, the first thing that comes to mind when examining Kemba Walker’s game is what he does on the offensive end. It’s why he makes as much money as he does and why he was a good fit to fill Kyrie Irving’s shoes.
But his defense is still somewhat of an unknown. Playing for the Hornets didn’t exactly help his case for being recognized as a top-notch defender. Measuring in at 6-foot-1 in the era of positionless basketball isn’t a great starting point either.
That being said, the Celtics’ best defender, Marcus Smart, thinks Walker has something to add. He told Sekou Smith of NBA.com Walker “can really play defense when he wants to do it,” while at Team USA practice in California.
“You know it’s tough, when you see how much energy he had to exert on the offensive end (for the Hornets), but he’s actually a really good defensive player, especially at his size,” Smart said. “You find out that the little guys are usually more feisty and tenacious. But he can play defense and you didn’t really see that or notice that because he had so much of a load on him offensively that it was probably harder for him to do that.
Walker also spoke highly of Smart, bunching the longest-tenured Celtic in with Jayson Tatum and Jaylen Brown.
“They’re just some really good young dudes and I just enjoy being around them,” Walker said to Smith.
One thing Danny Ainge and company have emphasized this offseason is the character of the players they’ve brought in. So far, it seems like Walker fits that mold.
“And the age difference is really crazy to me,” Walker said, staying on the topic of Boston’s younger players. “J.T. is like 21 and J.B. is 22 and Marcus is 25. And I’m 29 and feeling like, wow, this is cool. It sounds crazy. I remember when I was 21 in this league. I was a rookie and just trying to figure it all out. And these guys are young vets already. Like I said, it’s crazy.”
Full article @ Marcus Smart impressed with Kemba Walker’s defense
Source: GreenStreet Blog