NBA

Kyrie Irving is leading the league in a surprising statistic to start the season

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After the horrible injury to Gordon Hayward on the opening night of the season, the Boston Celtics have regrouped impressively and are proving they'll still be a serious threat in the east.

With one of the best head coaches in the league in Brad Stevens, Boston was always likely to overcome that setback and still play at a high level under his guidance.

One big reason for their great start is down to the form of star point guard Kyrie Irving.

The four-time All-Star has found his feet in Beantown and is showing why they made the decision to trade for him.

Irving currently leads the team with averages of 21.7 points and 5.7 assists per game. He's also leading all Celtics in steals with 2.4.

For a player who was much maligned for his defence during his time with the Cleveland Cavaliers, it's the latter statistic that stands out.

Over the first seven games, Kyrie has notched 17 steals, which leads the entire NBA.

The 25-year-old is one of the best scorers in the league and can put the ball in the basket at will, but his improvement on the defensive end is what will put him in the same category as the best players in the league.

He is already showcasing a more well-rounded game in Boston and is thriving with the added responsibility and bigger role he's got.

His 2.4 steals is also a career-high for him and it's clear that Stevens is already having a positive impact on his game in terms of defence.

After opening the campaign with two straight losses - clearly still feeling the emotional effects of Hayward's injury - Kyrie has inspired the team to five straight wins and they currently lead the Eastern Conference.

They recorded a terrific home win over the San Antonio Spurs last night with the point guard putting up a game-high 24 points, as well as three steals and a block.

Coach Stevens was delighted with his defence and believes it's a sign of how much he's settling in with his new team.

"You can tell he's getting more comfortable every time he takes the floor," Stevens said.

'Uncle Drew' was certainly expecting to share the load with Hayward but now looks ready to take on as much as the team needs and if he continues to play at this level on both ends, he could be a legitimate candidate for the MVP award.

With the Cavaliers faltering and looking way below their best, the C's can certainly make a case for being the best team in the conference right now.

Topics:
Eastern Conference
NBA
Boston Celtics
Atlantic Division

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