By ROBERT LEE
Journal Sports Writer
BOSTON - Bill Walker's dream became a reality when the Washington Wizards drafted him in the second round, 47th overall, of the 2008 NBA Draft.
All of the dedication, personal sacrifice and hard work that went into reaching his childhood dream of becoming an NBA basketball player was rewarded that day.
Now he is doing everything he can to earn playing time with the Celtics, who he was immediately traded to for cash considerations after the Wizards drafted him.
"I'm a rookie so I have to earn my way in right now and that's basically what it is," said Walker, who averages 3.3 points in 7.4 minutes per game. "Every rookie goes through it so I just have to learn the do's and don't of the game."
Playing for the defending world champions has been bittersweet for Walker. The 6-foot-6, 220-pound small forward has had the chance to learn from three future Hall of Famers in Paul Pierce, Ray Allen, and Kevin Garnett, but because the Celtics are so good, he hasn't had a chance to play that much, unlike his former teammate at Kansas State and fellow rookie Michael Beasley, who is averaging 13.1 points and 5.1 rebounds for the Miami Heat, who drafted him second overall.
"We play on two different teams and we have two different roles," Walker said. "My role over here is just to be ready whenever I'm needed. His role over there is different. He's a scorer. We've both been on this struggle for a long time trying to get to the NBA and now that we're here we're just trying to have fun in the moment and be great players so there is no envy."
Walker said that he has learned a lot so far in his short time in the NBA.
"There's a learning curve for all of us coming into the league," Walker said. "It's a totally different game than the college game. It takes people [a while] to find themselves."
Walker said that the speed of the game in the NBA is much faster than it was in college, which has taken him time to adjust to. Even though he has not played a lot, Walker's confidence hasn't left him.
"I'm just being confident in what I can do," Walker said. "I'm not a 3-point shooter. I shoot mid-range jumpers. I attack the basket and I just try to play aggressively on defense. I just go in and play my role. I'm not trying to be Paul [Pierce] or Ray [Allen] or anybody else like that."
He is not trying to be like them, but Walker, who has seen his playing time increase with all of the Celtics injuries, said that he is trying to take the best things about his teammate's skills and add them to his game.
"I'm playing more but guys are getting injured and that's not good," Walker said. "I'm just trying to do what I can do until guys get healthy and get back in the lineup. Basically it's just like spot duty. I'm filling in right now. I'm doing what I can do to help the team."
Rivers has liked what he has seen out of Walker lately.
"Billy's been terrific," Rivers said. "He's been put in there in some very tough spots...but he's done very well."