Though he and the rest of his Cleveland Cavaliers teammates helped bring the city its first championship in any major professional sports league in 52 years, Kyrie Irving apparently doesn’t consider Cleveland to be a “real, love sports city.”
“It’s exciting to be back on the East Coast,” the New Jersey native and new member of the Boston Celtics told the Charlotte Observer. “It’s fast-paced. A lot of different cultures, food and people. You get it all, especially in Boston.
“You would go to Cleveland, and it would be at nighttime, and things would be going on, but you just see a vast difference. … Boston, I’m driving in and (thinking), ‘I’m really playing in a real, live sports city?'”
After helping the Celtics to a 108-100 preseason victory over the Charlotte Hornets with 16 points and 10 assists in 27 minutes on Wednesday night, Irving told the NBA Countdown crew that the biggest difference between his old team and his new team is how much the Celtics pass the ball.
Jalen Rose asks Kyrie Irving what’s the biggest difference between Cleveland and Boston. His answer: “ball movement.”
— Bill Sy (@deliberatepix) October 12, 2017
“As you can see, our offense is being predicated on a lot of ball movement and body movement,” Irving said. “Being the head of pushing the pace and having a steady pace, I’m getting excited getting these guys open looks and being able to push in transition, do the things that I’m able to do at a very high level. The points will come for me, but being able to create for my teammates, being able to control the pace is something I’m looking forward to.”
He’s not wrong—Boston was second in the league in passes per game a season ago; the Cavaliers, who took their share of shots at Irving this summer, finished the year 26th.
The question is, was Kyrie partly responsible for the Cavs’ limited ball movement last season, or was he miscast as an isolation scorer and secondary ball handler behind LeBron James?
The 2017-18 season will tell.