Shadenfreude Alert: Ex-Boston Celtics Bomb in the Big Town

This past year in the NBA, there was a lot of shipping down from Boston – to New York.

In June the Celtics shipped point guard Kemba Walker to the Oklahoma City Thunder, who promptly waived him, allowing Walker to sign with the New York Knicks.

After that, the Celtics signed-and-traded Evan Fournier to the Knickleheads.

Yesterday, New York Times scribe Hoopan – sorry, Sopan – Deb detailed how all that’s been working out.

The Knicks’ Struggles Go Deeper Than Kemba Walker

A surprising reconsideration of the lineup that pushed Walker out of the rotation could help with some of the team’s issues, but not all of them.

Knicks Coach Tom Thibodeau has long been known as resistant to change, particularly in the way he uses his starters. He’s often been criticized for playing them for too many minutes, rain or shine, whether or not they are performing well.

So it was surprising this week, a quarter of a way through the season, when Thibodeau said that he was pulling the plug on Kemba Walker as the starting point guard in favor of Alec Burks, a reserve for most of his career and not a traditional point guard. And it wasn’t just that Walker, a four-time All-Star who signed with the Knicks in the summer, was being yanked from the lineup. Thibodeau told reporters that Walker would be out of the rotation entirely.

The news wasn’t any better for Celtics expatriate Evan Fournier.

Fournier’s stats dipped in November like Walker’s did, causing Thibodeau to barely use him in key moments late in games. Thibodeau did call his number on Tuesday night against the Nets, and Fournier rewarded him by hitting a game-tying 3-pointer with 18 seconds left. But overall, Fournier shot 5 for 12 for 13 points in 22 minutes, with no rebounds or assists. Like with Walker, if Fournier isn’t consistently a 3-point threat, there’s little reason for him to be on the floor.

Bottom line: There might be life after the Celtics, but it’s not a slam dunk.

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