In leading the team with 18 points in the Celtics’ 99-88 loss to the Miami Heat, the 19-year-old rookie out of the University of Arkansas won fans over with his impressive debut. In going 4-for-6 from beyond the arc, Walsh showcased a little something that wasn’t noted as a strength coming out of college.
As an athletic forward, if that part of his game surfaces with consistency, the Celtics may have a steal at No. 38 overall and a player capable of replacing what Grant Williams brought off the bench the past few seasons.
Celtics rookie Jordan Walsh showing why he’s more than a second-round pick
While not as physical as Williams, Walsh’s athleticism should shine through as well as his attitude when it comes to helping his team win by approaching the game right.
"“I learned my first day going into Boston that everything affects winning,” Walsh said, via Jay King of the Athletic. “Whether you’re on the bench, whether you’re just walking around in the street, maybe you’re just eating food, whatever you’re doing, everything affects winning. So I want to take real responsibility and real pride in everything that I do affects the team in a positive way, affects the organization in a positive way to get another banner. And that’s been my focus since Boston called my name to get me on their team.”"
He hasn’t been with Boston long, but Walsh’s words and understanding of what comes with being a part of the Celtics organization is music to fans ears as well as his play on the court.
It is also an expression on why Celtics president of basketball operations drafted him and then signed him to a four-year contract. At 6-foot-7 with a long wingspan, the Celtics believe Walsh is a player who can help the team right now. His impressive Summer League debut proved that, especially with the defensive attributes he brings to the team.
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Still just under 20, there is obviously a lot of growth there for Walsh, which is the crazy good part if you are a Celtics fan. He should learn and get better playing alongside All-NBA players like Jayson Tatum and Jaylen Brown who also entered the league as teenagers and grew within the system.
In fact, Walsh is already forming a little playful competitive relationship with Tatum. After hitting a copule shots beyond the arc, Walsh did some chirping to Tatum who was in attendance.
"“I looked at him a couple of times,” Watch said, via King. “He didn’t look back at me. But I looked over there like, ‘Yeah. Yeah. Yeah.’ But it’s respect though. I love watching him play.”"
Tatum may not have chirped back, but the rookie has the superstar’s attention, especially if that 18-point debut is the start of more to come.
It looks like he already has the winning mantra down packed.