Should The Celtics Want Kyrie Irving?

We’ve seen superstars uproot themselves from their small-market scene in favor of brighter lights and greener pastures. LeBron (twice) and Kevin Durant are the most recent examples. The common consensus is the team losing the superstar is left in shambles and without hope. This only applies to Cleveland. The Oklahoma City Thunder still fielded a competitive roster. When you have Russell Westbrook winning 45-wins isn’t a tall order.

Since January the media is painting a dire picture for Celtics fans hoping to retain star Kyrie Irving beyond this season. There are rumblings he’s unhappy, disconnected and the piling up of loses isn’t helping the situation look any better, let alone encourage him to stay. We’re in an era where it there is no instant pathway to the finals you’re in no position to sign a star on the level of Irving and should expect to lose the one they already have. But maybe the Celtics are better off if Irving leaves and subsequently if all of the free agents also depart Boston. Watching the Celtics play I see two things, I see a collection of very talented, multi-layered personnel that do not fit together. And I see the growing of the divide between two factors. The Half-Court faction led by Irving. Irving left Cleveland to show he can be the straw that stirs the drink and that lead a team to victory where he is the best player. The other side, the Fast Breakers, made up of young guys and the coaching staff the FBs want to run the floor and play a high-flying pace of basketball. Maybe they are right. Boston ranks, as of today they are seventh in fast break points per game (16.3). Jaylen Brown and Jayson Tatum are wildly attackers. Not shooters. Not yet, anyway. The Jays don’t fit so well next to Irving.

The best team basketball I’ve seen Irving play in his career was the brief time Brad Stevens was able to limit his ball-domination. If you were to look at Irving’s stats they’d look similar to his output when in Cleveland. It goes beyond this. Back in the 1990s Phil Jackson moved Heaven and Earth to get Michael Jordan to focus his energy getting those around him involved. The last two-minutes was Jordan’s playground. This is exactly how Irving played. Not anymore.

Boston needs to give opportunities to not only Brown, but also Robert Williams and Semi Ojeleye. Energetic, strong defensemen that can potentially swing a seemingly unfavorable matchup. Ojeleye did a great job guarding Giannis Antetokounmpo in the first-round of the 2018 playoffs. And guess who is averaging 5.2 blocks per 36… “TimeLord.”

No team in NBA history to have ever lost a star will be in a better position to remain competitive. If the Memphis Grizzlies are not a bottom-eight team and if the Los Angeles Clippers sneak into the playoffs the Celtics stand to own 4 first-round picks in the upcoming draft. Potentially four picks inside the top-21.

The Celtics aren’t better without Irving. But watching them play with Marcus Smart or even the beleaguered Terry Rozier in Irving’s stead the team jells significantly better as a whole.

Author: sailboatstudios

Hack. Amateur. Professional quitter.

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