To some players, the “D” in D-League stands for demotion.
Not Bill Walker. He sees it for what it’s worth.
‘It’s not a demotion at all. So you have you to get that out your mind,’ Walker said before Thursday’s game against the Detroit Pistons . ‘It’s the reason that why they created the D-League, so that instead of having guys sitting on the bench, not staying in shape, they can go down there and play.’
The Boston Celtics rookie has played just six minutes in two games and hasn’t been given the nod since November 9. It’s only natural that Walker would like to play more, but if it’s not going to happen in Boston he isn’t too proud to go elsewhere. Even if that means going all the way to Provo with the Celtics affiliate Utah Flash.
‘I welcome it,’ Walker said. ‘If it happens, I’m looking forward to going down and playing against someone other than my teammates.’
The place he gets minutes is in practice, and even those have been few and far between this season.
‘It’s tough. We’re not having a lot of practices,’ said head coach Doc Rivers . ‘The individual work he does with Coach (Kevin) Eastman is valuable for him and he’s doing it. Other than that, that’s all he can do and he just has to continue to do that.’
Since Walker can’t learn by playing he’s trying to gain as much as possible from his veteran teammates.
‘[I’ve learned about] just having a pro pace without rushing yourself, knowing your limits, staying within your game,’ Walker said. ‘Just little things I’ve been learning, picking up stuff from Paul (Pierce ) and the pace he plays at. He doesn’t go any faster than he wants to and he makes use of every move he uses.’
Walker looks forward to putting his knowledge to use. He expects that opportunity to come in the near future.
‘I’m pretty sure it’ll happen sooner than later,’ he said, ‘Because guys are playing so well right now and there’s not a lot of minutes for us.’
Until that decision is made, he’ll make the most of his time on the Celtics bench. If he gets that call, though, don’t expect him to be disappointed.
‘I’m not worried about it,’ he said. ‘But if it happens, I’m looking forward to it.’