Articles Free Agency 2019

A Kemba Love Letter

Kemba is the one.

Boston have cycled through some pretty incredible point guards over the last few seasons, all of which are kind of like crazy fleeting relationships.

Isaiah was the passionate romance, short lived but full of amazing memories (like the 53 point game against the Wizards in the 2017 playoffs, on the birthday of her recently deceased sister). He always gave us all of himself no matter what and it was some of the best times of our lives, but we just didn’t think it was enough to tie the knot.

So then we got with Kyrie, a certified All-NBA talent who drives the nice car, dresses nicely and has a lot of money. When Thomas was taking us to nice restaurants, Kyrie was promising to take us the penthouse of a five star hotel with personal chefs. His injury in 2018 was only a minor set back, and everything he had promised was coming.

Then Kyrie came back, told us he’d propose, then picked a fight with the other members of our family, we begged him to stop, he apologised, then he started the fighting again, cheated on us in the family home, said it was our fault and negged us until we wanted him to leave and go to Brooklyn with his mistress.

Coming out of a sour relationship, Boston needed a nice wholesome point guard to tell us how pretty we are and be there for us when we need him.

Kemba is the one.

Kemba has spent eight years working hard on his dysfunctional marriage and never complained at any point. He was the last one to quit on Charlotte, despite the fact that no one would have blamed Kemba for wanting to play elsewhere. He was eligible for a supermax and said he would take a paycut to stay with the Hornets.

Ultimately, MJ set Kemba free, realising that the Hornets aren’t in any way in position to take advantage of Kemba.

Boston are looking for someone like Kemba.

Kemba is looking for somewhere like Boston.

The expectations on Kemba are extraordinarily low too.

With Milwaukee, Indiana and Philadelphia either improving or remaining just as dangerous as ever and the possibility of Kawhi running it back in Toronto, no one expects the C’s to be in the top 4 in the East next season.

All Kemba needs to do is be a steady hand at a fringe All-Star level who helps to create a positive culture for young talent to thrive in.

And Kemba is the exact kind of player who can exceed your low expectations.

Kemba was a McDonald’s All-American coming out of high school, but wasn’t a highly touted NBA prospect his first two years at UConn. In his junior year, Kemba really turned into the collegiate superstar we remember him for. Averaging 23 points, 4 assists and 5 rebounds a game, Kemba and the Huskies achieved a 32-9 record overall and a 9-9 record in the Big East conference.

UConn entered the Big East tournament with a 21st ranking in the NCAA and the 9th seed in the bracket. After handley defeating DePaul and 22nd ranked Georgetown in the first two rounds, the Huskies were up against Pitt, the 3rd ranked team in the Nation. It’s on this stage that Kemba delivered a truly historical college basketball moment, in the world’s most famous arena.

Kemba and the Huskies would rattle off 11 straight victories to win both the Big East Championship and the college’s 3rd NCAA Championship. 

With an amazing college season under his belt, where he was by far the best player on a championship winning team, you would think that Kemba was in the conversation to be a top pick. However this wasn’t the case. 

Before the season, Kemba was projected to be picked in the back half of the first round. Even after his great showing at UConn, Kemba drew comparisons to other small bench point guards like Johnny Flynn, Ty Lawson and Brandon Jennings. Kemba was a fun explosive player, but wasn’t considered to be a franchise altering franchise. 

Kemba would end up going 9th overall to the Charlotte Bobcats. Looking at the 2011 Draft is mind bending, and doing a redraft would garner entirely different results. Here were all the people drafted over Kemba. Kyrie Irving to the Cavs, a good safe pick for the time and now. Derrick Williams who was a great Power Forward in college who was projected to make the transition to a great slasher in the NBA (this didn’t turn out in the long run). Enes Kanter, Tristan Thompson, Jan Vesely and Bismack Biyombo, all young big men with high motors (keep this in mind for later). Brandon Knight. Yep and then Kemba Walker. 

Kemba wasn’t supposed to be an All-NBA guy, starting out on an abysmal Bobcats team that remained abysmal when they changed their name to Hornets.

But he did become one, and was in line for a well deserved super-max extension with the team that continually let him down over his eight year career.

But the Hornets couldn’t bring themselves to do it, aware of how awfully they had cultivated a roster around the All-Star and intentionally low-balled the point guard until he wanted to play elsewhere.

But Kemba didn’t tweet. Kemba didn’t pout. Kemba simply thanked the people of Charlotte and team owner Micheal Jordan (the man who wasted eight years of his basketball ability by being a bad owner) and walked away.

I just want to address the entire Hornets organization, top to bottom. I regret that we weren’t able to get to that next level, and do a little more than we did. But even if we fell short of some of our goals — that doesn’t change how proud I am of what we built here together. 

Kemba Walker – ‘Boston Lets Do This’, Player’s Tribune

Kemba and the Hornets had a pleasant breakup, and remain friends to this day.

That is what the Celtics need, the kind of point guard you can take home to meet your folks, who will pay for dinner without being asked, who surprises you with flowers for no reason and who is genuinely interested in making the relationship work.

That’s why for Boston, Kemba is the one.

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