Why the Phoenix Suns, Milwaukee Bucks, and Denver Nuggets – or other young NBA teams – should not trade their young assets for two guaranteed years of Kyrie Irving
There’s no debating that Kyrie Irving is one of the most talented offensive players in the NBA. He’s a great isolation scorer and has the best handles in the game. If a team is able to steal him from Cleveland in a trade rivaling the stupidity of the Paul George and Jimmy Butler deals, then they should jump all over it.
Even though Cleveland’s management is a dumpster fire, it’s unlikely that they’ll trade Irving for minimal returns.
Kyrie Irving is overrated by most NBA fans and teams. There’s no denying that offense is more important than defense for point guards, but it’s hard to ignore Irving’s defensive struggles. Defense is all about athleticism, effort, and defensive comprehension. Irving is an above average athlete and his effort is usually decent, but it’s his understanding of how to play defense that is a major issue.
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Defensive awareness can be improved in young players, but Irving has been in the league long enough that it’s unlikely that he’ll ever become an average defender. His offensive skill set is intriguing, but he has issues on that end of the floor too.
Some of Irving’s offensive deficiencies are masked by the great LeBron James. King James is essentially a point forward, which allows Irving to play in a role that fits him best. James is one of the best passers in NBA history. Every team needs a ball-handler that gets his teammates involved.
Usually that role would fall to the point guard, but Irving is not a good passer. He’s a great isolation scorer and can spot up when LeBron is handling the basketball. He is a perfect complement to LeBron’s talents, but he needs LeBron more than he realizes.
Sources indicate the Irving doesn’t want to play with LeBron. This should be a red flag to all teams. Does Irving not care about winning? Why doesn’t he want to play with the best player in the world? LeBron always makes the right basketball play, which should be something that excites Irving. Instead, he’s either selfish or foolish. Either way, teams should be concerned.
Other sources believe that Irving wants to be the star of his team. Irving listed Minnesota, New York, San Antonio, and Miami as the four teams that he would like to play for. Although he doesn’t have a no trade clause and can be shipped off anywhere, it’s interesting to examine these four teams. If Irving wants to be the star of his team, then why would he want to play for San Antonio or Minnesota?
He’d clearly be second fiddle to Kawhi Leonard. He would likely be a third wheel behind Jimmy Butler and Karl-Anthony Towns. Either this report is incorrect or he’s clueless about his standing in the league compared to other stars.
Irving would be the star of the Knicks (if the trade involves Carmelo Anthony), but there’s a chance that Kristaps Porzingis will develop into a better player than Irving. Miami seems like a great fit and he’d be their best player, but there’s no guarantee that the Heat will be able to obtain him in a trade. The Cavaliers should get the best package that they can, even if it’s from a team not on Kyrie’s list.
Kyrie Irving is an All-Star point guard and should be traded for a hefty price. His offensive skills make him one of the most dangerous players in the league with the ball in his hands. His awful defense can be minimized if he’s surrounded by the right pieces. He’s perfect number two option on a championship team, but for some reason he thinks he’s a top tier superstar.