Kemba Walker has credited teammate Gordon Hayward for his early success in Boston. Walker joined the Celtics as Kyrie Irving’s replacement and perhaps tried to be too accommodating to his teammates with his passing. To his credit, Jayson Tatum excelled playing with him in the lineup, but Walker says Hayward was the one who encouraged him to be more aggressive.
Walker’s scoring is down from last season, when he averaged 25.6 points as the main scorer for the Charlotte Hornets. He averaged 21.2 points in his 50 outings for the Celtics this term, but is playing some of the best basketball of his life now that he’s finally on a team that can contend for championships.
The point guard says Hayward made him feel comfortable as a newcomer to the team and let him know it’s okay to take his shots.
“He was always coming up to me, telling me that they (the Celtics) want me to be more aggressive – they can tell when I’m not,” Walker told Bleacher Report in an interview.
“He made me feel comfortable, which I really appreciated, especially early in the year. Just letting me know that nobody is going to say anything, and nobody is going to be mad at me for shooting [certain] shots.”
The Celtics are one of the teams which will be vying for the title when the NBA season resumes in Orlando and says he doesn’t see himself having any problems with the bubble as he’s used to staying inside anyway.
“I’m a single man with no kids, so I’ma be fine,” he told The Athletic’s Jared Weiss this week. “All I do is stay in the house anyways, so there’s nothing wrong with me staying in the room. I’m actually looking forward to it cause I’m ready to play basketball. And it’s going to be set up so we can have fun.”