8 quick takeaways from the Kemba Walker and Enes Kanter introductions
The Celtics held introductory press conferences on Wednesday for point guard Kemba Walker and center Enes Kanter.
Here are a few quick quotes and takeaways.
■ Celtics president Danny Ainge said that after Walker came to Boston to meet with the Celtics, he actually had Walker call Kanter from Ainge’s cell phone to help recruit him.
“Kemba was one of the biggest reasons I came here,” Kanter said.
■ Ainge said that when free agency began and some of the changes became clear, Boston came up with a plan.
“Our Plan A was Kemba Walker and Enes Kanter.”
■ Ainge was asked on Wednesday why he believes the Walker experience will be more successful than Kyrie Irving’s tenure in Boston was.
“The last point guard we had it didn’t end like we wanted this year,” Ainge said. “But it certainly wasn’t his fault.”
■ Kanter is not known as a 3-point shooter, but in the official press release announcing his signing, Ainge said the team believes he can progress as a perimeter shooter. Then in the press conference head coach Brad Stevens mentioned seeing Kanter hit plenty of 3-pointers during a recent Boston workout. With the departures of 3-point shooting bigs like Al Horford and even Aron Baynes, it is clear this will be a focus for Boston moving forward.
■ Kanter chose No. 11, Irving’s former number, and has had some fun with it on social media ever since. On Wednesday he was asked about it.
“It was my old jersey number, by the way, No. 11, and I want to be the reason no one else will wear it.”
That last line was a reference to Irving’s Nike commercial that he filmed in TD Garden last year in which he hinted at someday having his number retired in Boston.
“I had to say it,” Kanter said with a chuckle.
■ Speaking of numbers, Walker chose No. 8, which is also the number of former Celtics forward Antoine Walker, potentially saving some fans some money on jersey purchases.
“There’s not [many] numbers available,” Walker said. “Every number’s retired. The reason I chose 8 is my birthday is May 8 and 8 was available.”
Walker said he spoke to Antoine Walker, too.
“He gave me the blessing as well, so I’m excited.”
■ Stevens on Kemba Walker: “He has all the stuff that the best have.”
■ Walker on his relationship with Stevens: “There’s still a lot we both have to learn from each other, but we’ll get there. There’s nothing more important to me than having a great relationship with your head coach, so we’ll get there.”