The Boston Celtics haven’t displayed much cohesion this season, but Max Kellerman believes the majority of the team is on the same page when it comes to one particular issue.
Despite being undoubtedly the Celtics’ best player, Kyrie Irving’s value to Boston recently has been called into question. After all, the C’s are 6-0 in their last six games without the star point guard compared to 0-6 with him on the floor.
While fans and talking heads alike have endlessly attempted to find the root of the Celtics’ problems this season, Kellerman believes everything all comes back to Irving.
“When I look at the team, what I see are guys who don’t want to play with Kyrie,” Kellerman said Thursday on ESPN’s “First Take.” “They play better when he’s not on the court.”
Kellerman continued: “They don’t want to play with him. Look at the numbers with and without Kyrie. Just Kyrie. The plus-minus, it’s a huge difference. 0-6 to 6-0. These guys need to beat you as a cohesive unit. They have to beat you with will.”
It’s foolish to tab Irving with all of Boston’s shortcomings this season. The Celtics seems to be battling through somewhat of a champagne problem, as their loaded roster from top to bottom hasn’t allowed certain players to receive the number of touches they warrant. Most figured that might be a problem for the C’s heading into the campaign, but it’s safe to say no one saw the struggles dragging out as much as they have.
Not to mention, Irving already has established himself as a proven postseason performer, and despite the collective being wildly talented, the Celtics lack players with championship experience. The six-time All-Star will be critically important to Boston once the postseason gets underway, something that’s definitely not lost on president of basketball operations Danny Ainge.
Regular-season woes shouldn’t be totally swept under the rug, but we probably shouldn’t get too carried away about Irving and the Celtics with the playoffs still over a month away.
Thumbnail photo via Bob DeChiara/USA TODAY Sports