Former NBA star Antoine Walker believes that the Miami Heat would have surely defeated the Golden State Warriors if they replaced the Boston Celtics.
Antoine Walker considers himself a proud NBA alumnus, beginning his professional career with the Boston Celtics in 1996 and winning an NBA championship with the Miami Heat in 2006.
As someone who spent 12 years in the league among five different teams, Walker is able to view his former teams from a relative distance. And with that distance, a controversial perspective has come into focus: the Heat would have played better than the Celtics in the Finals, leading to a Warriors downfall.
“I hate to take away from Golden State but, if you go back and watch the film, Boston gave Golden State that championship,” Walker said on the Locked On Heat podcast.
Although Walker is dogging on one former team on a podcast supporting another former team, this has less to do with what Golden State accomplished and more to do with what the Celtics were unable to accomplish. Walker is not alone in his analysis: many observed Boston lose momentum throughout the Finals as they fell by the wayside to a triumphant Golden State squad.
It’s not unreasonable to imagine that if the Heat had more depth, they would have at least been able to power through a Finals series. But this doesn’t sting any less to see a Celtic family member make this observation — even if Walker was twice removed.
Antoine Walker believes that unlike Celtics, Heat would have beat Warriors
The biggest counterargument to Walker’s statement is that effectively, the Heat had the same opportunity the Celtics did to play the Warriors, yet Miami was defeated by Boston in the Eastern Conference Finals.
It went all the way to a narrow 3-3 series, but in the end, Boston emerged victorious in a 100-96 win in Game 7.
To Walker’s credit, it was frustrating to watch the Heat go down in the postseason after the historic campaign put up by Jimmy Butler. At times, Butler was the driving force for the entire team, which ultimately led to their playoff exit. Fellow Heat players like Bam Adebayo, Tyler Herro and Kyle Lowry have been lauded for their talents, but they fell short in the postseason. It’s hard not to wonder what a Heat-Warriors Finals series would have looked like if everyone in Miami played up to their full capabilities.
Of course, the same can be said for the Celtics, who won Game 1 and Game 3 before the Warriors ran away with the seven-game series. Imagining anyone but the Warriors as champions remains wishful thinking, but perhaps it can lead both the Celtics and Heat to reconsidering their rosters in October.