Boston Celtics star Kemba Walker will thankfully be okay after what looked to be a very scary head/neck injury suffered on Friday night, which required him to be taken off the court on a stretcher. Walker is still listed as doubtful for Monday’s game against the Sacramento Kings as he recovers from a neck sprain, but the injury could have been much worse.
With Walker possibly out a game or more with his injury, the Boston Celtics have recalled Tremont Waters from the G League's Maine Red Claws. Waters was drafted 51st overall in the 2019 NBA Draft by the Celtics. By the end of the summer, Waters had earned himself a two-way contract with the Celtics, making him eligible to spend 45 days with the big club.
Through the first five games of the season, Waters helped lead the Red Claws to an undefeated start while averaging 20.2 points and 7.6 assists. Besides Waters’ keen ability to score the ball, he also notably sets the floor and positions his Red Claws teammates in the right spots.
Celtics head coach Brad Stevens discussed what Waters brings to the Celtics (h/t Celtics Wire):
“We saw in the preseason all the different things he can do with the ball. He’s great at settling down a team. He’s great at getting people in the right places. He can create plays other people can’t because he’s so good off the pick-and-roll.”
Another key element to Waters' game is his defense. Even though he is just 5-foot-10, Waters earned SEC co-Defensive Player of the Year honors last season at LSU. With the way he pressures the ball, Waters also impressively recorded at least one steal in each of the Red Claws’ five games this season.
With Walker out, the Celtics are left with Marcus Smart, Brad Wanamaker, and Carsen Edwards to man the point guard position. Smart has been impressive this season offensively, and he's making an early case for Defensive Player of the Year.
Wanamaker is an excellent backup who could handle the starting role in the absence of Walker. Even though it’s only his second year in the NBA, Wanamaker was an established player in the EuroLeague prior to the NBA. Sometimes people don’t realize he’s a veteran.
Edwards looks like he is still transitioning into the NBA. After his preseason performance of hitting eight 3-pointers in a single game, Edwards hasn’t been able to make much noise in the regular season. Waters could potentially see more minutes than Edwards in the next few games.
Waters fits into the picture as a backup guard who can play either the 1 or the 2. Regardless of his size, Waters will help space the floor and can produce on both ends of the court. If Waters can duplicate his play from any of his Red Claws games, he will be in a great position to contribute to the Boston Celtics.
Overall, the Celtics should be able to manage without Kemba Walker for a few games, if he winds up missing that kind of time. With the leadership of Smart, along with the athleticism and depth of the team, this Celtics squad was built to prepare for situations of this sort.