It’s no secret Kyrie occasionally had issue with Lebron, and eventually left to try and create his own legacy with the Celtics. As the Celtics are now struggling in his second year with them, he’s quickly realizing how difficult it is to lead a team.
When Kyrie Irving was traded from the Cleveland Cavaliers to the Boston Celtics just a year removed from an NBA championship, many assumed it was because Kyrie wanted to be his own leader, and get away from Lebron. At least some of that was true, as Kyrie and Lebron did clash a few times over their time together. Part of that may have been due to Kyrie’s youth and inexperience, which he’s gained new perspective on in the past year.
In his first year with the Celtics, former Jazz star Gordon Hayward joined the team during free agency. With Al Horford also on the roster, the Celtics were set to be a force in the East. Unfortunately, those plans were cut short when Hayward fractured his tibia in the first game of the season. That ultimately changed the look of the team, which still found success in the form of rookie Jayson Tatum.
Fast forward to April, Irving ended up requiring surgery on the same knee he injured a few years prior during the Finals. The surgery kept Irving out the rest of the season and playoffs, during which the Celtics still managed to reach game 7 of the Eastern Conference Playoffs, which the ended up losing to Lebron in his final year with the Cavs.
With the first season being a fluke, this year was the first for Kyrie to truly lead the team with it’s full roster. Gordon Hayward returned from his injury, but has not been anywhere near the same player as before. Jayson Tatum and Jaylen Brown seem a little disinterested, likely due to being thrown around in trade rumors for Anthony Davis and also receiving less minutes with Hayward playing.
In fact, Kyrie recently called his team out after a loss to the Magic, basically saying his team doesn’t know how to be a championship calibre team. He takes issue with the effort and approach of his team, and doesn’t appreciate the way things are going. He has since apologized for making his feelings public, but it doesn’t change that he feels that way.
After losing their third game in a row Tuesday night against the Raptors, Kyrie understandably was quite frustrated with his team. Guard Marcus Smart told reporters that the team isn’t together. When asked about that, Kyrie indicated that was simply Marcus’s opinion, and that he also respects it. If that doesn’t sound like a dysfunctional team that has no chemistry, I don’t know what is.
Kyrie understand Lebron
With his own struggles to lead the Celtics, Kyrie understands the role Lebron had while in Cleveland. He realized how difficult it can be to get the most from your teammates, and how he himself didn’t make it easy on Lebron. Kyrie in fact called Lebron to apologize, and the two seem to be on excellent terms now. It looks like Kyrie is showing signs of maturity, although he should refrain from publicly humiliating teammates.
Irving is averaging 23.5 points, 4.8 rebounds, and 6.9 assists, and 1.6 steals per game on 49% shooting from the field and 41% from downtown. Kyrie is having an excellent year, especially as a distributor, despite the Celtic’s struggles.
With Wednesday night’s loss to the Trail Blazers, the Celtics are now on a 4-game losing streak. Their latest loss puts them at 37-25, still 5th place in the Eastern Conference. The Celtics are 2-6 in their last 8 games and desperately need to build momentum and chemistry heading towards the playoffs. Their next game is Friday against the Wizards, a great chance for them to snap their slide.