Like every Celtics fan, I want nothing more than to see the chatter about last season season cease. But like any catastrophe, ugly and unwanted as it may be, it’s so difficult to look away. Brandon, ‘Scoop B’ Robinson is no exception, as he recently interviewed Jaylen Brown during his visit to New York.
Jaylens answer was not an expected one, but rather one that exemplified maturity and new perspective. “Kyrie got a lot of the blame and was undeserving. It wasn’t his fault that certain guys couldn’t take a step back. It wasn’t his fault. That was the front office and the coach’s fault. He gets a lot because he was the star. But a lot of that should be on the organization and coaching staff. It’s in the past. Kyrie is in a better place in Brooklyn, somewhere his roots are. He’ll be fine.” A lot was said in these 76 words uttered by JB. A lot.
1. Kyrie Was Undeserving
This is interesting since the majority of sports analysts have pointed out how Kyrie’s style of play hurts the utilization of the other four guys on the court. Most of the ball movement was done through him, which resulted in Tatum, Brown and Hayward left standing there useless.
Pushing that thought aside however, Kyrie did bring much the criticism on himself. Making a statement like, “If you’ll have me…” to the Celtics fan base, you’re expected to keep your word and not evade or become disgruntled when the media asks you about it. Irving often showed his frustration with the “young guys” in many post game interviews, which couldn’t have helped with any of the locker room drama. His antics on the court didn’t aid in his cause either. Yelling at teammates and throwing a ball into the stands is not the way to show your innocence. Unfortunately, whether Kyrie was undeserving or not, his actions were loud enough for us all to look his way.
2. Guys Couldn’t Take A Step Back
Whether this statement is directed towards any one in particular, it was very clear the Boston kitchen had too many cooks in it. Just as clear, no one was willing to remove their aprons so a hierarchy could be established. One could argue Terry Rozier was the biggest offender. But let’s not be quick to forget the words Marcus Morris and JB exchanged last year. In addition, was it really fair to as Tatum or Brown to take a back seat after bringIng them minutes from the Eastern Conference title?
It does appear the majority of the kinks have been worked out, but we have to remember that Kyrie want the only one who isn’t wearing the shamrock apron anymore. Morris, Baynes, Rozier and Horford also exited, along with anything they contributed to the lack luster season.
3. Front Office & Coaches are to Blame
Thats a very weighty statement. Putting a target on Danny Ainge, even if he did openly admit he built a team with too much depth, is very bold. And to cast a shadow of contempt towards his current coach may be unwise. That being said, it doesn’t mean there isn’t any truth in JB’s words.
As mentioned, Danny did place some of the blame on the roster he created and perhaps there is such a thing as too much depth. Ainge did work during the offseason (and I suspect even now) to create a winning line up. Buy in all fairness, the guys had 82 games last year to learn how to work together and failed to do so. That is not Danny’s fault. Thankfully Ainge has picked the perfect point guard to help the team heal. Kemba exudes positivity and a high basketball IQ. This should silence any doubters of Danny’s ability and concern for team chemistry.
As far as Brad Stevens’ responsibly in last year’s disaster, it’s easy to see how Jaylen can blame the coach. Stevens overcompensated for Gordon in the hopes to restore him to his former glory as quickly as possible. Jaylen was also was moved to the bench to make room for Morris and Smart, while Tatum remained where he was. Brad also held no one accountable when his plays were not executed. He lacked to appearance of being in charge, and for the guy at the helm that was a problem. This is not meant to be an overt criticism of Brad, because there were many extenuating circumstances that most likely made him act and react the way he did. While some of his rotations and slow responses to opponents runs that year make some of us make us wonder if Jaylen is right, the next few seasons will really determine how much of last year should be on Brad’s shoulders.
4. Kyrie Is In A Better Place
Home is almost always a better place to be. No one can say for certain if it’s the best place for Irving. Regardless, it has put the Celtics in a much better state. Kyrie seems happy and I’m glad for him.
Time will tell if his time in Boston created one of the worst seasons in franchise history. The important thing to remember is that he is a human, and we are all fallible. Let’s wish him well and move on graciously
In the words of our coach, “We want to be a team this City loves.” Brad, mission accomplished. Jaylen is one of the 15 reasons we love watching every game, and we look forward to see him exceed every expectation. I appreciate his candor as do all the fans. I only hope that if this question is posed to anyone wearing the white and green it will be greeted in the same manner. For now, let’s love THIS team and as always, #bleedgreen.
Featured photo by MassLive.com