When LeBron James left the Cleveland Cavaliers, the Boston Celtics emerged as the No. 1 favorite to become the new ruler of the Eastern Conference in the 2018-19 NBA season. The expectations for the Celtics were definitely not a surprise, especially after they almost eliminated James and the Cavaliers in the Eastern Conference finals despite not having Gordon Hayward and Kyrie Irving on their roster. With both superstars 100 percent healthy, most people believed that the Celtics could have a legitimate chance of beating the reigning NBA champion Golden State Warriors in a best-of-seven series.
Unfortunately, since the 2018-19 NBA officially started, the Celtics have failed to live up to expectations from a team that was supposed to be the No. 1 threat to the Warriors’ throne. As of now, the Celtics are sitting in the No. 5 spot in the Eastern Conference with a 20-14 record. All-Star point guard Kyrie Irving admitted that they have one of the most talented rosters in the league, but he believes they need more than talent to achieve their main goal this season.
“We have the talent, but it’s not enough in this league,” Irving said, via CBS Boston. “It’s not. For us, it’s just about making sure we’re doing the little things. I was talking to a couple of our guys, a couple of our veterans, and just making sure we stay on our young guys, as well as us having the responsibility of doing the little things.”
NEW column: We identify a lingering Celtic issue, and Kyrie Irving explains that not everyone has bought in to the need to perform the less glamorous tasks. https://t.co/uNdUea9yCn
— Steve Bulpett (@SteveBHoop) December 28, 2018
Kyrie Irving has been vocal ever since he was traded to the Celtics. After suffering a massive defeat at the hands of the Chris Paul-less Houston Rockets on Friday night, Irving called out some of his teammates, saying that they don’t always need the ball in their hands to be considered a basketball player. Irving didn’t mention any names, but some people believe it was directed to Jayson Tatum, who finished the game with four points on 2-of-7 shooting from the field.
Aside from his teammates, Kyrie Irving was also caught clashing with the Celtics’ coaching staff this season. During their November 24 loss to the Dallas Mavericks, Shams Charania of The Athletic revealed that Irving had a heated exchanged of words with Celtics Head Coach Brad Stevens.
“It was after the coaching staff’s feedback over a turnover on a previous play, according to sources, when Irving finally responded, had an emotional exchange and let out some bottled up frustration.”
If they are serious about winning the 2019 NBA championship, the Celtics should immediately find a way to address the issues on their roster. The outcome of the 2018-19 NBA season will be vital for the Celtics as it could affect Irving’s decision in the 2019 NBA free agency.