The Boston Celtics made headlines with 4 members of their roster making the 2019 FIBA world cup team for Team USA. Even more noteworthy is that two of the three team captains are members of Team Shamrock, Marcus Smart and Kemba Walker. With both men being hand-picked by Coach Popovich. This is their time to demonstrate why they should be respected as leaders.
Team USA: A Leadership Experience
The biggest knock you still see people talking about is the Celtics’ lack of proven leaders. Their biggest source of veteran leadership, Al Horford, left in free agency this year. This gives both Walker and Marcus Smart a chance to shine. Smart especially has been mentioned as a possible leadership option for the Celtics. Many detest his ability to lead due to some concerns over immaturity and that he doesn’t have championship experience. With the core four of the Celtics here, this is a great time for Smart to demonstrate to his teammates that he should be treated as a leader on this team. Kemba, on the other hand, should use this to improve his leadership and grow closer with some core pieces of his new team.
A Proving Ground for something more
Many teams have run into the problem of having two leaders who struggle for the power of leading the team. They are often thrown into a pairing without knowing one another. Team USA serves as an interesting test for both Kemba Walker and Marcus Smart. Both will have to adapt to working together to lead, especially with their star youngsters also on the team. They also will have to work with their third captain Donovan Mitchell this tournament. This will be a test of their adaptability with a talented young star. How they handle communicating and leading with Mitchell will be telling of how they’ll do with the predominantly young Celtics roster. This is also a chance for Kemba and Marcus to earn Jaylen Brown and Jayson Tatum‘s respect, which would go a long way to establishing team chemistry.
The most important thing is that all four Celtics show true camaraderie throughout this tournament. The FIBA world cup is a chance for Smart to prove himself as a leader. However, he shouldn’t do it to the extent that he drives everyone else away. Kemba Walker and his chemistry with his teammates will be a sign of how acclimated he’ll be with the team by the time they start the season. Overall, Walker and Smart being named Captains is a positive sign for Celtics fans everywhere.