1.25.2009

Antoine Impresses at Rookie Game

Antoine Walker's Rookie Season
2/9/97

Last night, Antoine Walker was one of 16 players in the third annual Rookie Game, coached by Celtics czar emeritus Red Auerbach. He had 20 points, 9 rebounds, 1 airball free throw and led the team with 16 shots in 23 minutes. Red's team won, 96-91.

He isn't quite ready for the Hall of Fame yet. Or, for that matter, the real All-Star Game. He still can do incredibly wild things on the floor, and neither his field goal percentage nor free throw shooting is going to threaten the record books. He's a player. He's a '90s player, not especially sound on the fundamentals, but so incredibly gifted and athletic that he does things no one else does.

Midway through Walker's first NBA season, you have to look long and hard to find anyone who doesn't like this kid. Auerbach likes him a lot. "He's one of my favorites," Red gushed.He leads all rookies in rebounds (8.4). Among last night's contestants, he was fourth in scoring (14.7), fourth in minutes (32.2), second in steals (1.17) and sixth in assists (2.3).

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