Brevin Knight To Kyrie: "This Is What You Asked For"

Kyrie Irving wanted to be the alpha, Knight says, but he wasn't able to get the most out of his teammates

Taz and the Moose
May 13, 2019 - 10:10 am
Kyrie Irving Boston Celtics NBA Playoffs

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It’s been a rough couple of seasons for Kyrie Irving. Without him, the Boston Celtics advanced to Game 7 of the Eastern Conference Finals. With him, they were a never-ending soap opera and closed their postseason “run” with four straight losses.

Does Irving deserve the criticism he’s getting?

“I think some of it is justified because it’s what he asked for,” former NBA player and current analyst Brevin Knight said on Taz & The Moose. “When he was in Cleveland, a big problem with why he (wanted to leave) was because he wanted to assume responsibility. He thought he could be the man on a team and lead their team to championships. I think what he learned is it’s a lot harder than just talking. When you have to live it and you have to get guys to play well on a nightly basis for 82 games, then get to the playoffs, play every possession hard – that leadership of men is a lot harder than he anticipated it being. 

“Does a lot go on his shoulders?” Knight continued. “Yes, because this is what you asked for. You got to get the most out of your guys to be able to win games, and he wasn’t able to do that. For that, he takes the criticism.”

Irving shot 25-of-83 (30.1 percent) in Boston’s final four games against the Bucks, including 5-of-27 (18.5 percent) from three. It was ugly – and his teammates weren’t much better.

“It was not because of him that they didn’t win,” Knight said. “He definitely had a hand in it, didn’t shoot the ball well down the stretch. But they did nothing to slow down Milwaukee offensively to give them an opportunity to score in the open floor and not have to play against half-court defense the entire time. Their wings just didn’t show up on a regular basis. So the results were what they were. But yes, he definitely has to shoulder a lot of the burden.”

Irving, 27, will have a decision to make this offseason – not only about where he will play, but also about what type of player he will be.

“It’s a decision for him to make: Do I want to be the alpha No. 1 guy, or am I just really good at being the running mate?” Knight said. “I still think he’s a max-deal player, but you got to make sure you have at least another strong veteran in your locker room that’s battle-tested and has the respect of the league. You better figure out who (garners) that respect.”

Knight called Irving’s basketball skills “top-notch” but questions whether he can be the face of a franchise.

“There’s not many guys in the game who can do what he does,” Knight said. “But the leadership side, to be able to get your entire team on the same page, I think that’s where having someone else that is strong-minded helps you. If you can combine him with another star that’s willing to take that burden, I would sign him to a max deal. Don’t be surprised if he goes back to L.A. (so) he can get back with LeBron.”

Click below to listen to Knight’s interview in its entirety.