Brooklyn Nets point guard Kyrie Irving is one of the most overrated players in the NBA. He made one of the most clutch three-pointers in NBA history against the Golden State Warriors in Game 7 of the 2016 NBA Finals. Irving is also known for his exceptional ball-handling, and being one of the weirdest people in the league.
Why Kyrie Irving is Overrated
Kyrie Irving is Not a Winner
This one could be confusing, as Irving does have an NBA finals win on his resume. Yes, Irving was a crucial part of the Cleveland Cavaliers who took down the 73-9 Golden State Warriors led by first-ever Unanimous MVP Stephen Curry. The most crucial part of that Cavs team was LeBron James though. James led both teams in every statistical category. James was the unanimous Finals MVP, and while Irving was great that series, it was because he was a sidekick.
Two years later, Irving would request a trade away from the Cavaliers, wanting to be the leader of his own team. He would be part of a blockbuster trade sending him to the Boston Celtics for Isaiah Thomas.
Kyrie Irving has been Nothing but a Poor Leader
Irving has shown multiple times that his leadership abilities are sub-par. As the focal point of an offense, Irving has made the playoffs three times (counting the 2020 Nets, who are a seven seed at the time of the suspended NBA), and missed them four times. It is also worth noting, unlike players who have missed the playoffs like Devin Booker and even LeBron James (who missed a career-high in games), Kyrie Irving plays in the weak Eastern Conference.
Last year, in the 2019 Eastern Conference Semifinals against the Milwaukee Bucks and 2019 NBA MVP Giannis Antetokounmpo, Irving averaged 20 points on very poor shooting numbers.
His on the court play in this series was as poor as his off the court leadership. It was reported that almost all of Irving’s Celtic teammates had problems with him except for Jayson Tatum, with whom they shared an agent with. Irving and head coach Brad Stevens also did not get along well. Stevens played a huge part in the magical 2018 playoff run.
Now, after half of a season in Brooklyn, he did not lead the Nets to anything past what D’Angelo Russell led Brooklyn to the year prior. Not to mention that Irving played a major part in Kenny Atkinson’s firing.
Kyrie Irving’s Teams Benefit from His Absence
From team to team, Kyrie Irving’s absence has only seen teams improve. In 2018, the Cleveland Cavaliers saw LeBron James make possibly the greatest single-handed playoff run ever. James carried Cleveland through the Eastern Conference. James would then sweep the first seeded Toronto Raptors and finally defeated the Celtics.
That same 2018 playoff season, a 19-year-old Tatum, 20-year-old Jaylen Brown, and a 24-year-old Terry Rozier would all play fantastic. Tatum showed that he would be a future Superstar. Tatum’s first Irving-less season saw him become an All-Star.
This season, Irving dealt with a multitude of injuries, mostly in his right shoulder. The Nets went 8-12 in Irving’s 20 games with the team this season, and without him, the team went 22-22. The Nets broke even with Spencer Dinwiddie as the starting point guard and were 4 games under .500 with Irving.
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