Celtics guard Marcus Smart thinks Kemba Walker’s defense is underrated
Smart, who got to know more about Kemba in the 2019 FIBA World Cup in China, thinks Walker is often overlooked on the defensive end of the ball because he is known more as a scorer. However, Smart said that the former Charlotte Hornets star is actually a “really good defender” who can make an impact on both ends.
“The dude can actually play defense,” Smart said, per Joe Vardon in The Athletic:. “Guys who score the ball can kinda get that notion that, you know, they’re not really good defenders. Especially him being a little guy, it’s probably harder to play against him because of a lower center of gravity. Plus, he’s feisty. So he’s really good, he’s a really good defender and he plays both ends.
“You didn’t get to really see that a lot from him because he exerted so much energy on the offensive end that he had to take a couple of breaks off on the defensive end, understandably.”
Last season for the Hornets, Walker averaged 25.6 points, 4.4 rebounds and 5.9 assists, all while shooting 43.4 percent from the field, 35.6 percent from downtown and 84.4 percent from the free-throw line. However, what’s not often mentioned is his 1.3 steals career average — he recorded 1.2 steals per game in 2018-19.
Walker will be tasked to fill the void left by Kyrie Irving with the Celtics next season, but with the likes of Jayson Tatum and Jaylen Brown developing into offensive threats, the All-Star guard could find the opportunity to show what he is capable of on the defensive end.