Roster Review: Bill Walker
Posted by r1zzo23 on May 28, 2009
After purchasing a second round pick in last year’s draft, Danny Ainge spend it on a freakish athlete that has already had major knee surgery. Doesn’t sound like a great use of the pick, does it?
Bill Walker was a highly touted recruit out of high school and teammate of the famous (or some would say infamous) OJ Mayo. When Walker was a freshman at Kansas State, he ruptured his ACL and was done for the season. This was now the second time he had had major surgery on that knee in his life. Walker returned to the court the next season with super freshman Michael Beasley and carried Kansas State into the NCAA tournament. At season’s end, Walker, along with Beasley, announced their entry into the NBA draft.
Ainge traded back in the draft to get Walker, and I think many Celtic fans were excited about the pick. He’s a great athlete, a competitor and a strong finisher at the rim. He would fit in nicely at backup small forward and, when the Big Three are gone, would hopefully be able to step into a star-role with Rondo.
This season, Bill Walker didn’t see much playing time other than in mop-up duty. In those situations, most players on the floor, namely Eddie House and Tony Allen, were looking for their own shots and weren’t necessarily trying to get Bill Walker a look unless it was an alley-oop. Bill didn’t exactly look to do anything else other than make it on SportsCenter at every opportunity. But when you’re in a game that has been locked up for most of the fourth quarter, can you really blame him?
Just like JR Giddens could give Ray Allen some rest if he becomes worthy of playing time, Bill Walker could do the same for Paul Pierce. We saw this postseason that Paul was gassed and had nothing left in the tank. If Walker, who is MUCH closer to carving out consistent minutes than Giddens, picks up his defensive, and all-around, basketball knowledge, I believe we will see much more of him next season.
My first suggestion for Bill: find out who Glen Davis worked with this summer and develop a very consistent mid-range jump shot. Michael Beasley had said late this season that people don’t know about Bill Walker, especially his jump shot. He’s got the strength and athleticism to excel as a slasher in the league, so adding a nice jump shot would make him a very difficult guard. Once he gets that down, he, as well as JR Giddens, needs to desperately increase his knowledge of the Celtics’ defensive schemes.
Bill Walker has the mentality that he belongs in the NBA and he isn’t afraid of anyone. He’s ready to compete with the best the league has to offer (ask Tracy McGrady and Ron Artest) and doesn’t back down. With that sense of belonging and competitive nature, once he gets to the point where he can just play rather than think about what he should be doing, he’ll be a good, possibly great, player in the league. If he starts taking big steps forward, playing with a premiere point guard like Rajon Rondo will only make it easier for him to wreak havoc on opponents.
Roster Reviews: JR Giddens