Kyrie Irving Fails as a Leader

I’ll start this off by saying that Kyrie Irving is one of my favorite players watch. His insane handles and ability to finish around the rim can make any basketball fan shake his head in disbelief. However, this year has been a rollercoaster for Irving and the Boston Celtics in general. After making a deep playoff run last year, without a healthy Irving or Gordon Hayward, the expectations of the Celtics this season was sky high.

A few years back, Irving was on top of the world, helping the Cleveland Cavaliers win their very first NBA Championship. Alongside the great Lebron James and Kevin Love, these three led one of the best comebacks in sports history, coming back from a 3 games to 1 deficit to beat the Golden State Warriors. Unfortunately, these times for the Cavaliers were short lived, as Irving left to go to Boston and Lebron leaving for the Lakers. Irving was not happy being second fiddle to Lebron James. He wanted his own team and to lead them to the promise land. Looks like he may have bit off more than he could chew.

When this season started, the Boston Celtics were the front runners of the Eastern Conference. Although the Bucks and Raptors showed everyone that it may be them there at the end, we all expected the Celtics to make another deep run in the playoffs. The Boston Celtics struggled all year and every time I watched them play, I felt as if they were falling way short of their potential. In addition, the team just simply did not have the energy or grit that I had seen last year. Sometimes, it looked like Irving didn’t care at all. Countless interviews showed him almost in a depressive state, giving one-word answers and snapping a reporter. Along with other things expressing his nonchalant attitude, he was quoted saying that he doesn’t owe anything to Boston, even when he asked permission of the fans if he could come back next year. Oh, how things have changed.

When the playoffs started, everyone expected the Celtics to buckle down and get to business. Their first round series against the Indiana Pacers went smoothly, as they won in four straight games. It was the next series against the powerhouse that is the Bucks, that Irving and the Celtics would struggle. After winning the first game in Milwaukee, the Celtics dropped four straight and were eliminated from the playoffs. In the series, it seemed that Irving could not find any kind of rhythm. He shot under 40% from the field and under 30% from three-point range. His playmaking skills were also affected as his assist to turnover ratio was less than half of what it was during the season.  

The Celtics were embarrassed over the course of those last four games even being booed at their home arena. It didn’t seem to bother Irving, however. During his post-game interviews, not once did he take any kind of blame for the Celtic’s struggle. After one game, a reporter asked about his shooting struggles and brought up how he shot 6-17. Irving answered with a smart remark and said he should’ve shot it 30 times. Everything that I have seen from Irving this year has made me question his ability to lead a team. He hated being “Lebron’s little brother” so much that he jumped into a scenario that I don’t think he was ready for. Hell, the Celtics went 12-3 without Irving this season and just 37-30 with him this season.  

It is unlikely that we see Kyrie Irving in a Boston Celtics jersey next season. It seems that he has already given up on Boston and move on in free agency. With the likes of Kevin Durant and Kawhi Leonard, Irving will team up with one of them, either in New York or for the Clippers. As much as I want to see Irving succeed, I just don’t think he is ready to lead a team without the help of another superstar.

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