Daniels: Celtics' Success Weighs On Kyrie's Ego

Kyrie Irving might have mixed feelings about his team's postseason success

The DA Show
May 21, 2018 - 12:51 pm

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Whatever happens the rest of the postseason, the Boston Celtics have a lot to be excited about. Fourth-best record in the league, second-best record in the East, up 2-1 on LeBron James and the Cavs in the Eastern Conference Finals – life is good.

Unless, perhaps, you’re Kyrie Irving.

Yes, Irving hasn’t played a minute this postseason, and the Celtics have achieved a considerable amount of success without him. Should Irving feel a tad uncomfortable with his team performing so well without him?

In a word, absolutely.

“I think every player that’s in that position would have (mixed feelings),” NBA champion and analyst Antonio Daniels said on The DA Show. “You’re happy and you’re joyful with what this team is doing, but on the flip side, you’re (conflicted). You look at DeMarcus Cousins. DeMarcus Cousins, the moment that he went down in New Orleans, they go on a 10-game winning streak and then end up sweeping Portland in the first round. Now you start to hear whispers. Is this team better without DeMarcus Cousins? Should Terry Rozier be the starting point guard of this team? (Should you) use Kyrie Irving as a trading pawn?”

All good questions. All open to interpretation.

“So, yes, you’re joyful after what this team has accomplished,” Daniels said, “but the fact that you’re not a part of it, it weighs on every athlete’s ego – especially a superstar like Kyrie Irving.”

Irving averaged 24.4 points, 5.1 assists, and 3.8 rebounds this season, but other Celtics have stepped up in his absence. Al Horford, Rozier, Jaylen Brown, and Jayson Tatum are averaging between 16.4 and 18.1 points per game this postseason. Boston is 9-0 at home and has won seven of nine overall.

That has to be awkward for Irving.

“It would be awkward for anybody,” Daniels said. “When you see a situation where the organization, a team, a radio station begins to flourish the moment that you’re pulled off the air or the moment that you’re moved to the bench or you’re injured, that’s a little crush to your ego. Because now whispers start to happen from everyone else. The narratives start to become created.”

Rozier, for example, is a free agent after next season. What should Danny Ainge do with him? Re-sign him? Trade Irving? Both? Neither?

Hard questions. No easy answers.

“For your own mental ego that you have, you want to be the best,” Daniels said, “and you want to see a team flourish while you’re a part of it.”