The modern day NBA is awash with versatile big men, the kind of players who can score both inside and out, the kind of players who can battle underneath for the big rebound on one possession, and who can step behind the three-point line and knock down a long-distance trey on the next. Dirk Nowitzki is the prototype, but there are others – think Kevin Durant and Kevin Love and you begin to get the point.
If Nowitzki is the prototype, Walter McCarty was the precursor; the 6’10” forward could run the floor with the best of the NBA’s bigs, a player equally comfortable taking the ball to the rack or spotting up to drain a three in transition. He was a better-than-average ball handler. He could defend inside out. He was truly as versatile as they come – a veritable Swiss Army Knife of a player that is so coveted in today’s NBA.
Yes, it’s fair to say that McCarty was ahead of his time…
McCarty on Rick Pitino bringing his college system to the Celtics:
I don’t think he or anyone else really knew whether it would work or not. We were still trying to find ourselves as basketball players, so it wasn’t something we could plug into the NBA and guarantee success. But Coach P believed in it. He knew he needed guys who knew his system if he was going to pull it off, and what better group of guys than Antoine Walker, Ron Mercer and me? We’d just previously played for him at the college level, and he knew that we would be in the kind of shape that he needed. We knew his system and how to execute it. So I think he felt a certain comfort level in bringing us together to start things off.
McCarty on any regrets of having never won an NBA title:
Absolutely not. Would it have been special? There’s no question, I would have loved to have won an NBA Championship. That’s what we all dream about as players. But I was fortunate to win an NCAA championship at Kentucky, and I was able to play 10 years in the NBA, many of those with the greatest franchise in professional basketball. I feel like I’m part of a special family in that regard. And I’m not someone who is defined strictly by what he did on the basketball court. I have other interests, like my music and my family, and I’m content with how my life has played out to this point. It’s been great, and I’m looking forward to the future.