Kemba Walker cherishing Team USA opportunity to mesh with new Celtics teammates
Kemba Walker has the unique opportunity to take part in Team USA’s training camp alongside three of his new teammates — Jayson Tatum and the recently called-up Marcus Smart and Jaylen Brown. The aforementioned trio has had two seasons of experience playing with one another, and they’ve taken up the mission to welcome their new point guard to the fraternity of the Boston Celtics, even if it is outside of their practice facility:
“I’m the new guy; they already know each other,” Walker, who recently went out to an Italian restaurant with his new teammates, told ESPN’s Brian Windhorst. “They are just kind of reeling me in and getting me acclimated to how things go. With four of us here now, it gives us an opportunity to play with each other and learn each other’s tendencies.”
Walker is the massive beneficiary of a wave of NBA stars turning down invites to participate in the looming FIBA 2019 World Cup, likely the go-to choice at the point guard position. Tatum is one of the most interesting up-and-coming prospects of the game and one who could easily feature on the 12-man roster.
Brown and Smart will likely have to fight for a chance to crack it. Nevertheless, the new foursome is encouraged for the weeks of practice they will have with one another before training camp even begins:
“It can only be positive for us because it’s chemistry added,” said Brown. “I just want to hoop. I don’t want any politics. We’re artists and this season is a new canvas.”
Walker shares that exact sentiment, even if there is a larger goal immediately ahead as Team USA tries for yet another gold medal at the world level:
“I just want to jell with those guys as best as I can, kind of get things going as fast as we can,” said Walker. “Me being with those guys, it’s pretty cool.”
Tatum, Brown and Smart are hoping their tenure with Walker will go a lot smoother than it did with Kyrie Irving last season, putting a tumultuous season behind them and hoping for the best in a wide-open Eastern Conference.