All of the Ego
The Boston Celtics were a living soap opera during this season/ Few high schools amass as much drama as Boston was able to compile in just an eight-month span. The worst part about it all was that it was exceptionally petty.
Of course, the person you can easily put the blame this lack of cohesion on is Kyrie Irving, and he deserves a fair share of the blame. If Kyrie Irving was not sure about re-signing in Boston, he should have never given the impression that he was certainly doing so.
Things change of course, but unless absolutely certain, there was no need to say that this summer and his answer drift farther away from wanting to be a Celtic long term the more the season progressed. Outside of the January 16th game against the Celtics where after hitting the game-sealing shot and proceeding to call Boston “his city”, it never felt like he wanted to be on the team.
His passive aggressive nature towards the rest of his teammates in the media was annoying, and numerous outlets reported there was a severe disconnect between Irving and his Celtics counterparts. Kyrie’s ego seemingly ballooned to new heights, and the rest of the team had enough.
You rarely saw him interact with any teammates while on the bench, and he spent a majority of the time not on the court at the far end of the bench away from everybody. Whether he thought he was better than the situation, or frustrated with the teams lack of success is up for debate, but one thing is for certain, and that is Irving was far from any sort of leader on the team.
Players not getting enough blame for struggling particularly offensively though are Terry Rozier and Jayson Tatum. After the Game 5 defeat, Rozier was quoted on by Vince goodwill for saying:
"“I don’t give a f*** what nobody say, I sacrificed the most out of anybody”."
Now the first thing I thought while reading that was they should do a bit of a better job in the English department at the University of Louisville, but my next thought was “this guy can’t be serious”. Rozier did not sacrifice the most, because he wasn’t sacrificing anything, to begin with.
Rozier got playing time much of last season because of Kyrie Irving’s knee injury. Barring the Eastern Conference Finals, he played like an NBA starting point guard and helped run the teams offense. This year he didn’t do as much, because Kyrie Irving was relatively healthy.
Terry Rozier would not have played the minutes he did in the first place if it was not for the Irving injury. It is as if one of the best starting QB’s in the league went down with an injury, and the backup played sufficiently in his absence.
No one would say the elite starting QB should get fewer snaps in that situation. Just because Rozier had a decent small sample size, why should he be rewarded with more touches when he is behind a guy who is in the top 3 in the league at his position?
When Rozier was on the court he did more bad than good. He was more focused on trying to show everyone that he was a good basketball player than simply being one. Dribbling the ball too much, pulling up from 3 constantly and playing a good amount of “laissez-faire” defense made him so frustrating to watch.He lost the edge that he had during his “Scary Terry” run, and simply became a mediocre backup point guard.
Jayson Tatum may just be 21 years old (an online joke), but that doesn’t excuse him from some of his ridiculous antics on the offensive end.
Tatum worked out with Kobe Bryant this summer, and boy I think Jayson thought he might have turned into the mamba. Turn around fade-a-ways, step back contested mid-rangers, Tatum had the worst shot selection on the team throughout the season. It certainly didn’t help he rarely passed the ball when he got it on the wing, and everyone in the arena knew that he was shooting the basketball.
I want to believe Jayson Tatum was just trying to prove he was an elite offensive player. Instead, he showed some regression in his sophomore year and showed that he could not execute the Kobe-esque style of basketball he was trying to play. He should have had the awareness to adjust his game and take higher percentage shots.