The Boston Celtics were viewed as the favorites to win the Eastern Conference heading into the 2018-19 season, but instead, Brad Stevens’ squad has been plagued by injuries and inconsistency this season. With a 120-107 loss to the Milwaukee Bucks on their home floor on Friday night, Boston fell to 18-13 on the year, good for fifth place in the East.
The Celtics still boast a collection of talent that, when healthy, few teams can match, but for now, things could be going a whole lot better. The team had a closed-door meeting with players and coaches following the Bucks, and after that ended, the team’s star point guard noted a major issue plaguing his team.
Kyrie Irving spoke to the media and said that the team is suffering due to “some selfish play out there.” In Irving’s eyes, Boston has to make it a point to get everyone involved, because that is when the team is in a position to succeed.
“We have some really talented guys, but we’re better as a team sharing the basketball,” Irving said, according to Tim Bontemps of ESPN. “And if it’s late in the shot clock, that’s when we start shooting our iso plays, as opposed to if we have nothing in transition shooting with 16 or 17 on the clock or shooting a fadeaway, something like that.”
Irving continued by turning the issue onto himself, saying that he will fall victim to being selfish, and that while he’s able to get whatever he wants, he has to be willing to defer.
“I get caught up in that as well,” Irving said. “For me it’s a hard challenge, because there’s a balance I have. I literally can do anything I want out there, but at the same time it’s what can I do for my teammates to be more successful. I have to be very conscious of that.”
Outside of the fact that I would love to watch a game in which Kyrie Irving does anything he wants for 48 minutes, because that would be a blast, it’ll be fascinating to see if the Celtics put an emphasis on sharing the ball during their upcoming slate of games. It was something they did well during their postseason run with Irving and Gordon Hayward on the sideline, and while they don’t need to spread the wealth to the extent that, say, the Warriors do or the Spurs did during their heyday, a star player doesn’t say something like this to the media unless there’s a major problem that needs to be remedied.