Chris Forsberg of NBC Sports Boston doesn’t believe the Celtics are better without Kyrie Irving.
Celtics president of basketball operations Danny Ainge agrees.
Forsberg on Thursday tweeted a column he wrote about why the Celtics aren’t championship contenders without Irving. The Celtics reporter provided some context, pointing to Boston’s net rating and offensive rating with and without the All-Star point guard.
Ainge, who said earlier in the day it was “completely illogical” to suggest the Celtics are better without their best player, retweeted Forsberg and added an excellent one-word response. It’s obvious where he stands in the debate that’s been taking over social media and national sports shows.
Irving tweaked his knee Saturday night in Boston’s loss to the Los Angeles Clippers, the second of back-to-back defeats in which the Celtics blew a huge lead. The C’s then won two straight games against the Philadelphia 76ers and Detroit Pistons with Irving sidelined, improving their record this season to 9-2 when No. 11 doesn’t suit up.
This obviously is a small sample size, but the Celtics also advanced to the Eastern Conference finals without Irving last season. So there are some folks who believe the C’s are better off without the ball-dominant star, in large because Boston’s young players — like Jayson Tatum, Jaylen Brown and Terry Rozier — look more comfortable in their roles with him on the bench.
Just don’t try to engage Ainge in that debate. He’s still extremely high on Irving, who can opt out of his contract and become a free agent this offseason, and it’s likely the Celtics will do everything in their power to keep Uncle Drew in Boston for the foreseeable future.