Jason Terry Compares Kyrie To NBA Hall-Of-Famer

Kyrie's game, mindset – and perhaps attitude – remind Terry of an NBA legend

Taz and the Moose
June 27, 2019 - 10:03 am
Kyrie Irving Boston Celtics

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Jason Terry is a basketball lifer. He understands what makes a team successful. He won a national championship at Arizona, was a first-round pick, won an NBA title with the Dallas Mavericks, has been Sixth Man of the Year, and played in the NBA for 19 seasons.

So yeah, he knows the game and the inner workings of a team.

And even he was surprised that the Kyrie Irving experiment in Boston didn’t work.

“Very surprising that it didn’t work,” Terry told Taz & The Moose. “The Celtics had great success when they had less talent when those two guys – Hayward and Irving – were out. That’s because they relied on each other, the ball moved, and they understood we got to do it collectively as a unit. But when you have a talent (like) Kyrie Irving, who needs the ball in his hands and can almost win you a game by himself, then it becomes hard. There’s less opportunities for all the other guys, and guys just weren’t in a good rhythm all season long.”

The Celtics went from coming within one game of the NBA Finals without Irving to winning just one game in the conference semifinals with him.

“Brad Stevens is a great coach,” Terry said. “I actually had several interviews this offseason to join his staff. He obviously went in a different direction. But I felt if I went in there I could help them because one thing you have to have is you have to have a relationship with all the guys in that locker room and get them to understand, hey, we got to play for each other. I just don’t think right now in Kyrie Irving’s career that he’s developed that skillset yet because he still feels as if he can control the game and take it over by himself. Once he acquires that skillset, that mindset, then he will go to the next level and be one of the best point guards in our league.”

But what if Irving never develops that skillset? Wouldn’t that be a concern if you’re thinking of making him the face of your franchise?

“Definitely a concern,” Terry said. “That’s why, as management, you have to put the right personnel around him: a veteran group, a group of guys that understands he’s our guy, we’ll do all the little things. Almost the mindset of the Philadelphia 76ers when they had Allen Iverson. He has the same type of skillset as AI – probably just as dynamic. But from a skillset, they put veteran guys – Eric Snow, Mutombo, Aaron McKie – guys that didn’t need the ball and understand we’ll play the defense, we’ll get the rebound, we’ll get it to you. 

“And from a leadership standpoint, they understood he might not come to practice all the time, he might not be in the greatest mood all the time, but we’ll shoulder the brunt of the leadership role and we’ll just let him hoop – because when you let Kyrie Irving just hoop, we know he’s one of the best guys in the league.”

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