Kyrie Irving is taking a ton of heat over his poor performance in the NBA playoffs, but no one has been more vocal and vicious in his criticism of the Celtics point guard than Jalen Rose.
Rose, a former player and now an ESPN analyst, absolutely ripped into Irving on the network’s Get Up! following a Game 4 performance in which Irving shot 7-for-22 from the field for 23 points, including just 1-for-7 from beyond the arc.
Rose says Irving is as good as gone in Beantown.
“He’s done in Boston,” predicts Rose. “And you ready for this? His teammates will help him pack. They can’t wait for him to go.”
“Oh yeah,” concurred Jay Williams, also a member of the panel. “Terry Rozier can’t wait for him to get out.”
Those are the attention-grabbing headlines, but Rose was also was more nuanced and detailed in his criticism, pinning plenty of the blame on the franchise, as well.
“They used to be pace-and-space team, where the ball and the movement dictated who got the shot. Kyrie Irving is a ball-dominating, isolation type of player. Now they’ve chosen to give the ball to Kyrie to take them home. He’s shown that he can’t be the best player on a contending team.”
It’s not just Rose — everyone is piling on. Skip Bayless tweeted that he is “so disappointed in Kyrie Irving.”
On the NBA on TNT post-game show, Shaquille O’Neill let loose, too. “You asked to be the man, and now that you are the man, you got to step up. I don’t want to hear none of it. You shoot 22 times, you’d better hit more than 7 shots in the playoffs.”
Who Cares? Not Kyrie
Irving isn’t doing himself any favors in his indifferent reaction to all the criticism.
“Who cares?” shot back Irving to a reporter’s question about suffering through such a poor shooting stretch. “It’s a little different when you’re rhythm is challenged every play down. I try to utilize their aggression against them and still put my teammates in great positions while still being aggressive. I’m trying to do it all.”
That’s part of the problem, according to Rose. In another segment, the analyst accused Irving of “shot hunting,” which he believes is only making life easier for the Milwaukee Bucks.
“When you’re playing like that, the other team starts to sense a little momentum too. They understand that there’s a fracture going on when one guy is being selfish, and you start to feed off of that.”
Are the Celtics actually better off without Kyrie Irving in the lineup? It’s a wild theory, but there are actually some numbers to back it up.
Is Kyrie Going to New York?
Even before the high-profile letdown in this second-round series against the Bucks, there were indications that Irving could be moving on after 2019. Stephen A. Smith said in March that it was “not breaking news” that the guard was a goner come free agency.
Irving’s five-year $94.million contract is up after this season, and the most likely destination would appear to be one of the New York-based teams, although the Los Angeles Lakers also appear to be emerging as a late favorite in the Irving sweepstakes.