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Sunday, November 30, 2008

Rookie Celtics Look Stellar in D-League Debut

By Rob

No, this isn't a sports blog. I haven't always posted about sports and it's not my intention to keep strictly to sports. But with the recent performances by rookies Bill Walker (SF) and J.R. Giddens (SG)... I just had to spread the good word.

On Friday, Bill Walker (47th overall pick in the 2008 draft; traded from the Wizards to the Celtics for cash) and J.R. Giddens (Celtics 1st round draft pick in 2008; 30th pick overall) made their debut for the Utah Flash; a Celtics D-League affiliate.

It's hard to say who outperformed who... 6'5'' shooting guard J.R. Giddens hit the game-winning shot in overtime, and 6'6'' small forward Bill Walker, who played alongside Michael Beasley at Kansas State, had 5 steals and went 5-for-9 from beyond the arc.

Bill Walker (SF) played 41:03 minutes and, despite foul trouble (4 PF), had a tremendous stat line:
23 PTS (9-19 FGM-A; 5-9 3PM-A; 0-0 FTM-A), 8 REB (1 OFF, 7 DEF), 4 AST, 3 TO, 5 STL, and 0 BLK.

J. Giddens (SG) played 45:21 minutes and also put up solid numbers:
19 PTS (8-18 FGM-A; 1-4 3PM-A; 2-5 FTM-A), 12 REB (4 OFF, 8 DEF), 1 AST, 4 TO, 1 STL, 2 BLK, and 2 PF.

I know a lot of people consider the D-League a joke, and I wouldn't completely disagree. But after producing assist wiz Ramon Sessions, I think they've made a huge leap in proving to be a viable source of talent. If the D-League turns out to be the equivalent to the MLB's farm system, then NBA executives will look like geniuses. If not, what do they have to lose? I love the idea of bringing the NBA -- in some form -- to rural areas that would otherwise be uninterested in professional basketball.

The point I was trying to get at is this: don't discount Walker and Giddens, who could act as quality role players for an NBA team in the near future. And if you're one of the many who are quick to dismiss the legitimacy of the D-Leaguers... give it some more time.

Here's something to keep you entertainment while you wait:

An introduction to Bill Walker (interview footage mixed in with great in-game footage)

Now that you've been acquainted, here's Bill Walker's nasty slam dunk in an NBA pre-season game against the 76ers. I thought Theo Ratliff was a shot blocker... If anyone knows where I can buy the poster, please let me know using the comment section.

You may want to click on the videos so you watch them on YouTube in "high quality"

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