Kyrie Irving Dazzles in Preseason

CHARLOTTE, NC - OCTOBER 11: Kyrie Irving
CHARLOTTE, NC - OCTOBER 11: Kyrie Irving /

The word is out — Kyrie Irving is good at basketball

I know this is groundbreaking stuff, so hold onto your hat for this next part because it may shock you.

He played extremely well in the preseason. I bet you didn’t see that coming.

Sorry for throwing all of these flaming hot-takes at you right away, but I think we need to acknowledge how good Irving has been, and will be for the Celtics this season.

Obviously whenever a player transitions to another team, there will be a learning curve. You need to adjust to new teammates, coaches and offensive schemes. For the Celtics and Irving, this is magnified substantially. With only 4 returning players from the previous roster — the longest tenured being Marcus Smart — there is nothing set in stone. It’s basically a fresh start, or a reset. Few are familiar with one another and that includes Brad Stevens. This influx of new talent forces Stevens to recreate his schemes in accordance with his players.

One might think that Irving would suffer a fairly severe drop-off from this discontinuity, but that’s not the case. Throughout the 4 preseason games, Irving has been nothing less of spectacular.

Sure, his first game wasn’t great against the Hornets, but it was his first real game with the C’s. And for the record, not being “great” doesn’t mean he wasn’t good. Irving showed a well-balanced effort in this game scoring 9 points, dishing out 3 assists, and snagging 2 steals. His defense was actually the biggest takeaway from this game. He moved his feet well and showed something that wasn’t constant during his time in Cleveland — effort.

The next game against the Philadelphia 76ers was a thing of beauty. Irving flashed a bit of everyone thing offensively highlighted by his mirage of 3-pointers (5-7 from beyond the arc). In just 25 minutes Irving put up 21 points, and 3 assists. Overall, Irving was in complete control of this game from start to finish.

His third, and final preseason game was by far his best. Pitted once again against the Hornets, Irving put on an absolute clinic. After only missing on 4 shot attempts on the night (7-11), Irving dropped a team-high 16 points. However, it was his handles and passing that really impressed. Irving finally did something that I was looked for throughout the preseason — facilitate. It’s no secret that Irving is a shoot-first point guard stemming back from his days in Cleveland, but in Beantown he will need to adjust his playing style. Brad Stevens’ offensive scheme is a pace-and-space, ball-movement orientated one. After 2 games of adjusting, Irving figured it out. He dropped 10 assists, setting up his teammates nicely. Oh, and as for the handles I was talking about, just check the video below.

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Overall, Irving’s per-36 minute stats for the preseason equate to 23 points, 8 assists, and 5 rebounds, while shooting 61% from 3.

As Irving continues to become comfortable in Stevens’ system, expect him to have an MVP-type season.