The Globe had this statement at the bottom of an article on Sunday:
Ainge said he was pleased with the way swingmen J.R. Giddens and Bill Walker played during the Orlando Pro Summer League, and saw them as potential backups for Paul Pierce. “J.R. and Billy have played well,’’ Ainge said. “I think they did a good job there. We see the impact. I’m very comfortable with them.’’
I really like Bill Walker. I like his work ethic and I like his energy on the court and I love the way he won't back down from anyone. I like Giddens' athleticism and the energy he brings to the game. But, I didn't think that either one of them dominated the competition enough to warrant putting them on the floor as Pierce's backup. They played well in summer league but in order to succeed in the NBA, they pretty much should have dominated in summer league, not just played well.
But then, this is Danny Ainge speaking, and in Danny doublespeak, saying that he is comfortable with them and that he sees their impact really means that he is shopping them while he tries to bring in a veteran back up for Pierce.
But, maybe he isn't happy with any of the options that he sees out there on the free agent market and the sign and trades aren't going like he hoped they would. He may really be seeing them as possible back-ups for Pierce by committee. Their games are very different and between the two of them, they might be effective against different players.
Both are very athletic. Giddens is a versatile scorer who has developed into a more well-rounded player as his career has progressed. He has good length and outstanding leaping ability and is a very effective rebounder from the guard position. Walker is a strong wing player who can, at times, be physically intimidating. He is good for at least one monster dunks per game. His perimeter shot still needs work. He won't won't give an inch even when playing much bigger players. He has an uncanny knack of getting under the opposing player's skin. Both players are good defenders.
Would back up small forward work with Giddens and Walker working the position together and pushing each other to improve? By the playoffs, would one or both of these guys be ready to take on Kobe or LeBron? I'm not sure, but I'm certainly willing to give them a try if Danny really thinks they can do it and is comfortable with them. But is he really comfortable with them or is he building them up for a trade to bring in a veteran? Lots of questions... Answers to come.