To See Him Play is to Imagine: Bill Walker Player Capsule
To see him play is to imagine.
Imagine him winning dunk contests, getting to the free throw line at will, and attacking the basket with the same balance of ferocity, creativity, and athleticism once seen in the Human Highlight Reel himself, Dominique Wilkins.
This year, throughout training camp, news had been that Walker had a fearlessness about him that belied his youth and allowed Walker to challenge the Big Three in practice every day.
Whereas most players, understandably, come into the league hesitant to challenge NBA veterans, and especially hall-of-fame caliber players like Pierce, Allen, and Garnett, Doc raved about Walker, who, from the second training camp started, went toe-to-toe with anyone who stepped in his path to the basket.
Hearing that, I was intrigued. I'd heard great things about Walker in high school, then watched as he struggled through recovery from knee surgery and playing second fiddle to Michael Beasley while at Kansas St.
Before Walker was in the game a minute, he caught an alley-oop from halfcourt, electrifying the crowd, which had been completely quiet the rest of the game. A couple plays later, Walker caught a pass on the baseline, took one step without a dribble, and dunked right on top of Theo Ratliff.
He ended his 11-minute stint that day with a couple post-ups, one of which he finished for a layup and another on which he drew a foul. In 11 positive minutes that day, Walker's tough, attacking manner of play was displayed and I became a big fan.
Realistically, I thought maybe Walker could crack the defending champion's rotation as an athletic energy-man. I knew he wouldn't play a lot of minutes because the Celtics are set at swing-man with Pierce and Allen and Doc Rivers rarely gives minutes to rookies, but I thought he could certainly make an impact.
It wasn't to be for Bill. His play was too raw for a contending team, and Walker split time between the Celtics and the NBDL's Utah Flash. He earned a few minutes when the injury bug reached its low point, but other than that Walker never really made his presence felt during this season.
The sky is truly the limit for Bill, especially if he can put the work into developing a mid-range game and better ball-handling. Just imagine how much the Celtics could use an improved Bill Walker.
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