Enes Kanter Says He'd 'Definitely' Pick Kemba Walker over Kyrie Irving 'Any Day'

Tim Daniels@TimDanielsBRFeatured ColumnistAugust 28, 2019

Newly acquired Boston Celtics guard Kemba Walker (8) and center Enes Kanter (11) pose with their team jerseys at the Celtics' basketball practice facility, Wednesday, July 17, 2019, in Boston. Looking on is team general manager Danny Ainge. (AP Photo/Elise Amendola)
Elise Amendola/Associated Press

Boston Celtics center Enes Kanter said Wednesday he'd "definitely" pick teammate Kemba Walker over former C's point guard Kyrie Irving, who signed with the Brooklyn Nets as a free agent this offseason.

Kanter explained his decision during an appearance on Fox Sports 1's First Things First:

First Things First @FTFonFS1

"Kyrie's definitely one of the best point guards. When I was with Portland & we played the Celtics [in Boston] I could feel the chemistry wasn't there. There was like a negative energy. ... Kemba is a really good leader. I'll definitely pick Kemba any day over Kyrie."—@EnesKanter https://t.co/W9oVky5KmV

The Irving-led Celtics went into last season with sky-high expectations as the point guard joined Gordon Hayward in returning from injury to bolster a roster that also featured Al Horford, Jayson Tatum, Jaylen Brown, Terry Rozier, Marcus Smart and Marcus Morris.

Boston posted a disappointing 49-33 record during the regular season to earn the No. 4 seed in the Eastern Conference before falling to the Milwaukee Bucks in the second round of the playoffs.

It frequently seemed like the Celtics had too much depth. Head coach Brad Stevens spent the campaign juggling different lineups and trying to find a consistent winning combination while still keeping everybody happy with their minutes, and it was ultimately a fool's errand.

In turn, Boston's roster underwent a significant offseason reconstruction.

Irving, Horford and Morris all left in free agency, while Rozier left via a sign-and-trade that involved Walker. 

The team's new point guard didn't want to make any guarantees at his introductory press conference in July after the Celtics' 2018-19 campaign, but he sounded an optimistic tone.

"I don't know if we're going to be better," Walker told reporters. "I can't tell the future. But we have a really good team. A bunch of young guys who are very talented...who I'm looking forward to playing with. Do I think we can be good? Yeah, I do. I think I would be a huge part of that."

Kanter clearly believes the longtime Charlotte Hornets star is the right man for the job.