Knicks' Walker gets his chance

MIKE GANTER, Toronto Sun

, Last Updated: 8:36 PM ET

Bill Walker is living proof that in sports, it’s all about the opportunity.

Walker the second-year New York Knicks guard out of Kansas State is finally getting his opportunity with his second NBA team in just his second year in the league.

Whether it lasts or not, he’s taking full advantage of what he has been given.

The 6-foot-6, 220 pound Kansas State product arrived in Toronto not just an integral member of the Knicks but, for now at least, a member of the starting five.

That’s a far cry from his first season and a half in the NBA with the Boston Celtics where he had a combined 245 minutes of court time.

“It was just more mentally challenging,” Walker said of his time in Boston, a huge chunk of which he spent in the Development League. “Physically I was able to play every day and do things like that. Dealing with not being able to get on the floor. That was the hardest part. Keeping your mind positive.”

Walker’s get-out-of-jail-free card arrived in the form of a Eddie House for Nate Robinson trade deadline deal in which he followed House to New York.

Walker’s opportunity arrived in a 124-93 blowout loss in Cleveland to the Cavs. Cleveland had built a 26-point lead by the half and extended it to 49.

Walker wound up playing 35 minutes and hitting 9-of-14 from the field for a Knicks high and personal career high 21 points.

“It’s something I have always been able to do,” Walker said before Friday’s game. “I just haven’t had a chance to show it.”

Knicks coach Mike D’Antoni took notice of Walker’s athleticism in the game and rewarded Walker with a start in the next game against the Detroit Pistons.

With the door open, Walker made sure it stayed that way with a new career high 22 point night that included six dunks all but guaranteeing him the start Friday against the Raptors.

Having come through three major knee operations already and finally getting his chance to shine, Walker isn’t taking anything for granted.

“Every day is an opportunity,” Walker said. “ I just have to do my best and capitalize on every minute I get on the court. It could be your last minute. You never know.”

Walker said his first steady taste of the NBA has been made much easier playing alongside Tracy McGrady in the Knicks backcourt.

“He’s a pass-first type of guy,” Walker said. “Most people don’t think so but he’s very charitable. When he’s driving I just try to be in that open lane.”

mike.ganter@sunmedia.ca


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