Is Walker's return really the key to C's?
- Call it the return of the prodigal son.
Less than two years ago, Boston Celtics team president Danny Ainge gleefully exiled Antoine Walker from Boston, trading him to the Dallas Mavericks for a package that included Raef LaFrentz and Jiri Welsch. At the time, Ainge lambasted Walker for his horrid shot selection and unwillingness to play a supporting role to more efficient offensive players.
Time heals all wounds, however, and Ainge reacquired Walker this February at the trade deadline. It was a sweetheart deal that cost the Celtics only a lottery-protected first-round pick and the last two months of Tom Gugliotta's career.
More surprising than the trade was the fans' reaction. Bostonians who had volunteered to help Walker pack for Dallas now welcomed him back with open arms exemplified by our resident Celtics fan Bill Simmons' reaction to the trade.
The results thus far have backed up their excitement. The Celtics are 14-7 since Walker returned to the fold, including road victories over the Phoenix Suns and Houston Rockets, and the C's have seized control of the Atlantic Division race.
While the improvement is noteworthy, the Celtics' performance since the trade raises more questions than it answers. For instance, is Walker playing any better than he used to? How much of the improvement is directly attributable to him? Most important, can the Celtics' hot streak continue in the postseason?
To continue reading this article you must be an Insider
We see that you are not an ESPN Insider. Upgrade today and gain access to our exclusive coverage.
MORE NBA HEADLINES
- Source: Phil considers Knicks front-office job
- Rockets turn on burners in 3rd, rout Pacers
- Sources: Lakers not ready to fire D'Antoni
- Bucks' Mayo banned 1 game for hit to throat
MOST SENT STORIES ON ESPN.COM
- NBA Home
- Boston Celtics
- Brooklyn Nets
- New York Knicks
- Philadelphia 76ers
- Toronto Raptors
- Chicago Bulls
- Cleveland Cavaliers
- Detroit Pistons
- Indiana Pacers
- Milwaukee Bucks
- Atlanta Hawks
- Charlotte Bobcats
- Miami Heat
- Orlando Magic
- Washington Wizards
- Heat Index