Nikola Vucevic vs Kemba Walker

Like it or not it was the right thing for the Celtics to step away from Al Horford. The price likely will be too high and he is coming off a season where we’ve seen a decline in his defensive play despite his durability since joining Boston in 2016. It is tough to say goodbye to the guy who can be credited as the sole reason why your offensive didn’t dwell in mediocrity having limited sources of offense during his stint in Boston.

If you ever wanted to see how the Celtics would look with one dynamic scorer you could very well point to the 2015-16 team as the test case. Isaiah Thomas battled for every basket, his main partner in the pick-and-roll was the clumsy Kelly Olynyk and it wasn’t until the arrival of Horford did Thomas reach the apex of his game. What can we expect if the Celtics throw all of their cap space at Kemba Walker? They’ll have chump change left to find a starting center. They honestly wouldn’t have enough for Ersan Ilyasova.

Walker is an All-Star, always the bridesmaid of the All-NBA Team discussions making his first and only All-NBA Team this year enjoying career highs in points (25.6), assists (5.9) and rebounds (4.4). But the argument for why it be considered a step down joining Boston against signing a 5-year max with meandering Charlotte is playing with the likes of Cody Zeller is far more worthwhile than seeing if you can have any success with Robert Williams as your pick-and-roll partner.

Potentially, Boston could sign Vucevic to a contract that won’t hamper their ability to find a suitable scoring guard because Orlando arguably would be wise to step away if the price becomes too high and let the young kids like Aaron Gordon, Mohammad Bamba and Jonathan Isaac play with more free reign even if that means taking a step backwards. We’ve already seen how many wins the Vucevic-led Magic are worth. Orlando can do better than 42 wins annually.

The Celtics need some kind of replacement for Horford’s lost production on offense, which Vucevic can fill better, while defensively he is a gigantic bag of uncertainty.

Look at the following players the Celtics will rely on heavily next year to carry them in the post-Kyrie era and how they shot the ball with and without Al Horford:

TS% w/ Al Horford 57.1
TS% w/o Horford 51.4

TS% w/ Horford 57.8
TS% w/o Horford 52.8

TS% w/ Horford 61.2
TS% w/o Horford 51.9

TS% w/ Horford 63.5
TS% w/o Horford 53.5

Ainge and Stevens know how important shooting and space is. You cannot even hope to replace what Horford brought to the team defensively as a primary defender on Giannis and Joel Embiid. No matter what the Celtics are left with the option to cross their fingers and hope Jaylen can hold his own and that the Sixers never find the shooting they need to make teams pay for doubling Embiid.

Hey. Maybe that’ll happen.

I love Kemba. I fell hard for him watching his heroics at UConn. He’s done so much with no help from the organization. But he isn’t leaving Charlotte for anybody. Dallas is arguably worse than his current situation because all they have is Luka Doncic. Boston is more talented, better coached and better ran as an organization except they can’t improve at one of the key positions in the league. Ironically, center is the most marginalized position in this hyper charged pace-and-space and Boston won’t be able to find fill it if they sign Walker.

Author: sailboatstudios

Hack. Amateur. Professional quitter.

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