Hi, Red’s Army readers and Celtics fans. Walter McCarty has graciously agreed to do a few blogs for Red’s Army so he can give his perspective on the NBA, the Celtics and life after hoops. Here’s part one of the series. Go C’s. –@sambot5k
On Being A Rookie
Leading up to the ’96 NBA Draft I was a bit road weary from working out for all the teams. I was very anxious, nervous and elated — all at the same time. After I was drafted, I wanted to prove that I was the right choice and that I belonged in the league. I needed to fit in and compete for playing time.
My situation was a bit tough because the Knicks drafted 3 players who were very similar. It was a little odd. We not only had the task of being good teammates, we also had to compete for the same spots while trying to co-exist together.
The biggest learning curve for me was tempo. At Kentucky I was used to playing a chaotic, up-tempo, full-court pressure type of basketball. Once I got to camp with the Knicks I had to adjust my game and know when to turn on all that energy. Most importantly, I learned to take my time and let things develop offensively. The veterans on that team did an outstanding job teaching me and providing knowledge on how to be successful as an NBA player.
I like the rookies the Celtics drafted. Each one has a chance to be in the league for a long time and develop into a really nice player. All three played at big time schools and against the best players in the country — they have a lot of experience in big games after leading their teams in the NCAA tournament.
I believe Sullinger will help the Celtics right away. He’s very confident in his game and has a high basketball IQ. Joseph and Melo will come on strong in spurts depending how quickly they understand their roles and the NBA game. All three are very fine players and should contribute when their name is called.