The Cleveland Cavaliers came closer to beating the Golden State Warriors in the NBA Finals than almost anyone thought they would. When they had a 2-1 lead over the Warriors, a once-improbable upset seemed almost likely. Unfortunately for the Cavaliers, it was not meant to be, as not even LeBron James’ heroics could overcome the absence of Kyrie Irving.
Still, the Cavs must be pretty positive and upbeat heading into the season, right? Depleted as they were, they should be fairly encouraged at their chances of winning it all this year. But encouraged is not the word that Irving used during media day. As Dave McMenamin of ESPN reports, Irving said the Cavaliers’ season won’t be one of upbeat joy, but one of pure rage.
“From me there’s going to be a lot more rage, a lot more emotion,” Cavs guard Kyrie Irving said at the team’s media day Monday. “There won’t be too much smiling or anything like that from our team. That’s the mentality we have to have. We’re looking forward to the challenge.”
Irving’s rage is understandable.
After a tumultuous season with James back in Cleveland and a rookie head coach in David Blatt, the Cavaliers finally hit their stride in the postseason. Irving himself was spectacular in Game 1 of the NBA Finals, until a fractured kneecap ended his season. To have worked so hard through so much only to briefly set foot in the promised land must be an enraging experience – both for the Cavs and for Irving.
We’ve seen Irving at his best, but we’ve never seen him at his best when he’s angry. The rest of the league might not like him when he’s angry.