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Kemba doesn't quite have Kyrie's handles - maybe that's a good thing

It wasn't difficult to isolate Kemba Walker and Jayson Tatum in the USAB scrimmage last night. So much of the action went through them in the Blue Team's 97-78 victory. I covered Jayson's great offensive game (17 points., 4 boards) in a previous article, but Kemba's 12 points and four assists were also noteworthy.



Kyrie Irving displayed what might be the best handles in the NBA last season, but Walker is not far behind. He has great ball control while avoiding, and befuddling, defenders. He can stop on a dime, create space and get off a decent shot - much like Kyrie showed with the Celtics. And if last night was any indication, Kemba's new teammates won't become spectators watching him perform a magic act. They will become part of the act.

Tatum showed a bit of what he can do on offense when let loose, and we need to see more of that. But don't expect Jaylen Brown and Gordon Hayward, or even Marcus Smart, to become bystanders. Walker is a willing distributor who will now have shooters to target. The fact that he is such a productive and versatile scorer will open up opportunities for his teammates. We will take the slight decline in ball handling for the pluses that Kemba brings from Charlotte. He is a true team player. His teammates need to follow his lead.

Follow Tom at @CelticsSentinel and @_Celtics_Center

Comments

  1. When I used to play street ball regularly, I used to go up against a taller guy who was a good defender. He was difficult to get by because he was three inches taller and had really long arms. I had all these great dribbling moves, but they were often ineffective against him and he would often talk trash to me along the lines of, "You going to dance all day or are you actually going to do something with the ball?" With Kyrie, all those dribbling moves are impressive, but if they're not used to get by a defender consistently, they're really not all that effective. North-south dribblers and ball movement is the more efficient way to play than watching someone like Kyrie pound the ball for an entire possession before taking some fall-away jumper. Kemba will be a better fit than Kyrie was in that area for sure.

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    1. On a few plays last night, Kemba got possession after a defensive stop and made the long pass to a teammate heading down court. We'll see more of that. Tatum and Walker did some good stuff last night. Handles don't mean much if their not used right.

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  2. And let's see if the Milwaukee series was just Kyrie's mind getting a head start to Brooklyn, or a sign that the league is starting to figure out how to handle that impressive but shot-clock-eating handle.

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    1. C's looked like they had the series after that first game until it went down hill. Disappointing doesn't begin to describe it. Cousy's in the limelight now, and the Russell rebound-to-Cooz-to the guy down court worked very well. We may see it again. @_Celtics_Center is doing an off-season exercise if you want to chime in. My choices are below (they could change). It is a start/bench/cut game. I think you are on Twitter, but if not, I will inject your choices into the mix. By the way, the owner of The Celtics Center is terrific.


      Tom Lane
      @CelticsSentinel
      ·
      19m
      Replying to
      @_Celtics_Center
      PG - Dennis Johnson (will do an article on why), JoJo White
      SG - John Havlicek (play him the whole game)
      SF - Larry Bird (backed by Paul Pierce)
      PF - Kevin Garnett (backed by Dave Cowens)
      C - Bill Russell (backed by Kevin McHale)

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    2. And Cousy's birthday was 2 days ago, when he turned 91. Happy Birthday, Bob! I remember watching that video of Bob and Irving together as part of that series about linking the Celtics' present to the past. Sad to waste Cousy on him--I remember thinking even back then that Irving doesn't give a damn about Cousy and was just going through the motions while sitting with him.

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