Kyrie Irving is well on his way to the NBA Hall of Fame.
Over his first six seasons in the league, the 6’3” point guard has averaged 21.6 points and 5.6 assists per contest in addition to winning the 2011-2012 Rookie of the Year award, making four Eastern Conference All-Star teams, three NBA Finals appearances and winning a championship in 2016.
Last season, Irving had the best scoring season of his career, averaging 25.2 points on 47.3 percent shooting, including a remarkable 40.1 percent three-point mark. Also, he hoisted up a career-high 19.7 field goal attempts per contest, which proved that Cleveland’s offense ran through him in addition to LeBron James.
Ever since Celtics president of basketball operations Danny Ainge made a blockbuster trade to acquire Irving, he has raved about his new point guard. In a video posted to the official Celtics social media accounts on Tuesday, Ainge explained that he envisions Irving adapting to coach Brad Stevens’ team-oriented style of play on the offensive end of the floor.
"You'll see that he's a better passer. I think people that watch Kyrie play a lot can see his passing and his potential there as a passer. LeBron was pretty much the point guard in Cleveland and Kyrie was a point guard often when LeBron wasn't on the court. I think that he's a fantastic passer and I think that defensively he's got to improve and I think he will in Brad's system," he said.
As mentioned above, Irving holds a career average of 5.6 assists per game, including 5.8 last season. Therefore, expect those numbers to rise during his first season in Boston, while he will not likely shoot the ball close to 20 times per contest based on the fact that the Celtics have a number of other high-profile athletes who project to be viable scorers, including newcomer Gordon Hayward, Al Horford and rookie Jayson Tatum.
Shortly after making the deal, Ainge said the following about Irving’s scoring ability, but didn’t mention his facilitating skills.
“His age is a great fit. His age and experience is a great fit for us. With where we are with some of our younger players, his ability to score in a variety of ways—shooting from the three and getting to the basket—is elite. He’s shown that the past three years in the NBA Finals. At the young age of 25, it’s very unique and very special, what he’s been able to accomplish against the best competition in the world.”
Therefore, it seems as though Ainge thinks Irving can reach new heights in multiple aspects of his game, which echoed the point guard’s reasoning of requesting a trade in the first place.
Irving and the Celtics open the upcoming NBA regular season against the Cavaliers in what should be a dramatic spectacle.