Celtics Rookie Considers Limited First-Year Experience ‘Amazing’

0 8

Jordan Walsh wasn’t primed for instant NBA flourishment when the Celtics selected him in the second round (38th overall) of the 2023 draft last summer, but that hasn’t made Year 1 in Boston a total dud.

Walsh, who spent 36 games during a lone freshman season at Arkansas, was best known as one of the most engaged defenders in the SEC. He averaged 1.1 steals and 0.5 blocks as a 6-foot-7 guard, catching the eye of Celtics team president Brad Stevens heading into draft night. Valuing that defensive potential was evident, and even though Walsh’s rookie run with the team has been limited to 37 minutes across six scattered games, the 20-year-old is taking in the full Celtics experience.

“It’s amazing,” Walsh explained to NBC Sports Boston’s Chris Forsberg on the “Celtics Talk Podcast.” “A lot of people go their whole careers without having playoff experience, but in my first year, I’ll be able to be in the playoffs with a team that has a chance to do something special.”

Walsh showed encouraging signs as Boston’s standout prospect during summer league action in Las Vegas, averaging a team-leading 16 points with 4.2 rebounds, 1.6 assists, one steal and 0.2 blocks while shooting a modest 42.2% from the field. But even that wasn’t enough to earn Walsh a solidified role on a crowded Celtics roster that’s leaned on Horford, Payton Pritchard and Sam Hauser off the bench heavily throughout the season.

Story continues below advertisement

It took Walsh two scoreless debut appearances with Boston before recording his first NBA points (two) — on Feb. 4 against the Memphis Grizzlies. Throughout the patient transition, Walsh has constantly been supported by the more experienced Celtics veterans watching his growth from afar.

Getting the most on-floor time with Boston’s G League affiliate in Maine, Walsh has worked toward being ready whenever Celtics head coach Joe Mazzulla needs him. In 27 games, Walsh has averaged 14.7 points, 7.5 rebounds and 1.3 assists on 42.6% shooting in 29.8 minutes.

Walsh continued: “To have that experience to start my career around such great guys like Al (Horford), (Jayson Tatum) and (Kristaps Porzingis) and Jrue (Holiday), to start my career with those guys in a place like Boston, where you know the mentality is winning and the standard is winning. … To have that experience is definitely an amazing feeling.”

Story continues below advertisement

Like the Celtics, Walsh has already prepared for the playoffs, in the G League.

Maine clinched a first-round bye, courtesy of Walsh’s 27-point showing, and seized a date with the Delaware Blue Coats in the second round on Thursday.

- Advertisement -

- Advertisement -

- Advertisement -

Leave A Reply

Your email address will not be published.