Kyrie Irving is having his proud uncle (Drew) moment.
The Boston Celtics guard is done for the season after undergoing a knee operation in early April. It’s a bittersweet development for Irving, who was having a terrific first season in Boston and was hoping to lift the C’s to new heights in the playoffs.
Irving’s teammates are more than pulling their weight in his absence, though, and the All-Star guard has noticed.
“We have a bunch of young guys on our team, but the way they are playing right now, they’re playing like experienced veterans,” Irving told host Scott Van Pelt on Wednesday night during an appearance on ESPN’s “SportsCenter.”
“I feel like, throughout the season, we’ve done a great job of helping one another, and now they’ve taken the team full-force and doing what they’re doing. So I’m just nothing but proud of them, as well as Brad Stevens and the coaching staff.”
At 26 years old, Irving isn’t that much older than talented youngsters Terry Rozier (24), Jaylen Brown (21) and Jayson Tatum (20). But after seven NBA seasons that have included three deep playoff runs with the Cleveland Cavaliers, he has plenty of wisdom to impart as his teammates battle the Philadelphia 76ers in Round 2.
“I’m not so much separated in age; I’m more separated in my years of experience,” Irving added. “I try to offer a lot of knowledge from my unique opportunities of being in Cleveland and learning a lot of things, then coming to Boston and being with these young guys that just have a thirst for knowledge.”
As for his own development, Irving appears to be making the most out of his extra downtime.
“I’m in a great place,” he added. ” … Me being off the floor gives me a chance to develop some things in my life that I need going forward, as well as on the court, I can develop things that within the weight room and also with my body, understanding some mental aspects that I can take, and just learn as much as possible from the bench and support the guys.”