Even after last night, Irving hasn’t played in a game since Dec. 17 and the team hasn’t won a game since.
At this point, I’m pretty sure Irving is going to have surgery this afternoon. I’ve always said that the NBA is filled with teams and players who don’t know how injuries actually work and that sometimes those players do develop problems, however, that doesn’t mean the player will actually have any sort of major problem with the shoulder. Irving will likely come back soon, but I just have a feeling that something’s up with his shoulder. I can’t be sure of when right now and it is possible he might actually suffer any sort of an injury, but I think he’s had several of these types of issues his whole career and in that time, there have been at least two major shoulder injuries that he has had to correct.
The main goal of this article is to cover those three problems without it being anything too serious. It is, in fact, nothing serious, and I’ve been making the case before that Kyrie’s shooting is going to make it worth the wait and Irving is going to be a good starter for the Cavs. I’d also like to note that his shooting will make a huge difference because he’s shooting so well and the Celtics have been horrible in threes the last two games.
The first problem is that the first thing this player tends to do is take his shot before his teammates, and he’s shown pretty clear signs of this before.
The next problem is that Irving is not a perimeter player. When I was in middle or high school, my basketball coach would get mad if the next guy he said “You need to move that shot up because it’s a foul” and that was pretty much it. If you were to play that way down the line of playing high school or college, that was just not a very effective way of how you play basketball. It’s hard to get someone a foul.
Irving was a player who could use his size and shooting to his advantage in the post and did a very good job of it, especially when he was playing as a rookie and going against guys like Jason Kidd or Ray Allen or Reggie Miller in the paint. What the Celtics usually did was play him there, either as a shot blocker or as a scorer off the dribble, and he struggled because he wasn’t used as a high-percentage scorer because there’s a number of different ways you can use the ability to shoot the 3 pointer against guys, and when you do that it actually works. You essentially move the ball upcourt, get a shot on the fast break, and that becomes the most appealing option for a scorer to take. It’s really hard to come up with a lineup of guys that can create the easiest situations to beat them, and so when Kyrie was asked to play those role when the Cavs got in the playoff race, he did a good job in that.
The second problem was when Irving went on a shooting spurt, his teammates lost focus on the perimeter, and he shot far too many 3s.
The third problem is also pretty simple, both in my opinion and some of the criticisms I was hearing about him on a fairly consistent basis. From being a shooting guard, you’re responsible for getting all your teammates shots while leaving open the passing lanes. With the pace of the game being what it is, that’s just not really what you want. No offense to the team who played the way the Celtics did, but it just doesn’t make sense for a guy who wasn’t used in a lot of the post scenarios out of an open lane.
Irving does have a right shoulder injury as the Celtics have been careful with his minutes and he hasn’t really played in the last two games. The Celtics don’t know if it’s a minor or major issue and it could mean that Irving will need surgery to remove a bone spur, and while the Celtics are going to be watching his minutes closely, it’s also very likely that Kyrie is going to miss the rest of the season so it could still be that the shoulder is bothering him on some level. I feel like if Irving can stay on the court and stay healthy for at least the next week or two, he’ll be back and have a big reason to get his shot back on.
Again, this isn’t going to be anything serious, but he needs a day or two to get his shot back to what he was when he was a rookie. I don’t have a clue when Irving will call it quits. From what I understand about him, he feels pretty good and has had no problems. I know that if he does have to get the surgery, it’ll be going to the team doctor, but I think it would just be the team doctor since there’s a good chance it could be