The Boston Celtics’ title hopes rest on good health. Marcus Smart, Kemba Walker, Jayson Tatum, Gordon Hayward and Jaylen Brown have only played 14 games together completely healthy, but when they are all together, they look really, really good. Contender good. Naturally, the concern around Kemba Walker’s knee heading into the bubble was a bit disconcerting, but Brad Stevens’ latest update provides a beaming light of optimism.
Brad Stevens to @ZoandBertrand on the condition of Kemba Walker's knee: "His knee is the strongest its been since he got here in September."— Brian Robb (@BrianTRobb) July 29, 2020
With Walker healthy, the sky is the limit for the Celtics. They’ve toppled some of the giants in the league without even being fully healthy, so with all of the team’s core players in good healthy, Walker takes the Celtics from being a really good team and a dark horse to make the Finals into a legitimate challenger for a healthy Milwaukee Bucks team.
The Celtics will continue to monitor Walker’s knee and move forward cautiously. After all, it was the cautious approach in ramping him up in Orlando that got him to this point. The Celtics will not be prioritizing the seeding games, so don’t expect any players to get massive minutes – especially Kemba Walker.
Instead, expect the same steady buildup that we saw in the scrimmages. The goal is to be ready for the start of the playoffs next month, not the first game in the seeding games this week. If Boston can enter the playoffs fully healthy, they could make some serious noise. Walker is a huge part of that, especially if Jayson Tatum maintains the same level of play from February.
The Boston Celtics will get their first test as they face the Milwaukee Bucks on Friday, July 31st at 6PM EST on ESPN.