Kyrie Irving went out and dropped a dud in his first home opener with the Boston Celtics. He scored only 17 points and 3 assists, while shooting 25 times and only bucketing 7 of those attempts, a mere 28% from the field. My question arises, would Isaiah Thomas have done the same or would he have put on for his city? Would he make sure to solidify a victory in a home opener?
Those two home opener performances say a great deal. Why? Well, it is your chance to put the city you play for, the city you lead, on your back. Isaiah Thomas was able to do so. Irving, not quite. Isaiah Thomas rose to the ocassion. Irving, not quite.
Celtics fans are going to be comparing what Irving is doing to what Thomas did for quite some time. That is just how it'll work. They were traded, in a blockbuster move, for one another and they play the same position.
This is not meant to be any sort of dig at Kyrie Irving. I am simply posing the point that there could be a huge difference in his mentality compared to Thomas' mentality when with the team.
Isaiah Thomas embraced the fact that he was the guy. He was the leader of the team. Irving, on the other hand, has not appeared to hold the same mindset.
With Gordon Hayward out (my sources say "most likely for entire season") Irving is going to have to embrace being the guy. Can he do it? Sure, I've seen him do it before, here and there. However, does he have the Isaiah Thomas ability to do it for an entire season? I am not sure. Which is why I simply worry about it. Key word, "worry." It is not definite. It has only been two games.
Again, this is no dig at Kyrie Irving. It is factual that he did not rise to the occasion in a home opener for the Celtics, while Thomas always did.
So I do think the Celtics are going to miss Isaiah Thomas, this season in particular. Moving forward, I am sure Kyrie will have a longer and possibly more successful career. Which, over time, will erase any sort of missing Isaiah Thomas. But right here, right now during this season, the Celtics are going to miss having a guy that embodies what it means to be a Celtic, to be a leader, to be the guy.
Photo: (Sporting News)