When the Boston Celtics lost Kyrie Irving to the Brooklyn Nets in the summer of 2019, there was plenty of uncertainty surrounding what Boston’s best course of action would be from there. Losing a talent like Irving would serve as a massive setback for any franchise. At least, that’s how it appeared then. Now, three years later, Boston has not only since made a conference finals appearance – something Irving has yet to do since then – but now the Celtics are in a prime position to eliminate the very team Irving left them for.
So the one question that remains in all of this is, were the Celtics better off without Kyrie all along? Celtics Insider Brian Robb of MassLive thinks so. In Robb’s own words, Irving’s departure’s opened the door to the Celtics’ development of their young talent, most namely Jayson Tatum, Jaylen Brown, and Marcus Smart.
“The development of certain players on the Celtics’ roster likely has reached higher levels without Irving here in the past few seasons. Tatum and Brown have had to develop into better playmakers with those gains starting to show off more and more in recent months. Marcus Smart would have never been given the keys at point guard after a long wait to better serve as a facilitator for Tatum and Brown’s development.”
If Irving had stayed in Boston, there’s no telling if those three would have reached their potential the way they have since his exodus.
Robb Says Irving Would Have Limited Boston’s Defense
One of the primary reasons why the Celtics managed to land on their feet following the Kyrie fiasco is how phenomenal their defense has been, especially this season. The Celtics had the best defensive rating in the NBA this year, allowing 106.2 points per 100 possessions according to NBA.com. Because Boston’s rotation has very few holes to exploit defensively, Robb believes that such would not have been the case if Kyrie had stuck around.
“What Brad Stevens and Ime Udoka have built now defensively is as good as it is in part because a one-dimensional player like Irving isn’t involved. Boston’s starting five is full of good defenders with size who can switch with ease and that’s not a scheme that would have ever been able to be pulled off as effectively with Irving in the fold here.”
It’s no hidden secret that in …read more