by Intern Mac
Earlier this week the All-NBA teams were announced, and Kyrie Irving was named to the All-NBA 2nd team. He’s a dynamo with the ball in his hand; able to break almost anyone down off the dribble, he can drive to the hole or use a gorgeous shot to make it rain from the outside (much like he did during that Cavaliers title run in 2016). His talent in undeniable-but he’ll never be a Batman, THE Man, to lead a team. Hell, he’s not even the Robin that we, as fans, really like.
If you’re not up to snuff on your comic book knowledge (full disclosure: I’m a comic book nerd as well as a sports fanatic), there have been a series of Robins that have fought crime alongside of Batman: the favorite, Dick Grayson (who is currently Nightwing), is the fan favorite and someone who has developed skills that allowed him to lead multiple teams himself and carve out his own mythos; there is Tim Drake, the Robin of the mid-90’s until the early 2000’s, who became Red Robin and left his own mark on DC’s storied comic book universe; as well as those like Stephanie Brown and the current Robin, Batman’s son, Damien Wayne. For this bit of writing, we’re going to concern ourselves with Jason Todd, the second Robin-the one that readers voted to kill off in the 80’s through a phone poll. That’s right-fans voted to get rid of him.
Jason was a lot like Kyrie: amazingly talented, with a streak of ego where they thought he could do better alone. That about sums up Kyrie to a “T.” While he IS a dynamic offensive talent, who has averaged 22.2 points, 3.6 rebounds, and 5.7 assists over his career (stats provided by basketball-reference.com), his partnership with LeBron in Cleveland covered many of the holes in his game. His defense is essentially a turnstile. He has been known to dribble too much, holding onto the ball rather than making the extra pass. He’s one of those players that NEEDS to be paired with another star player to cover up the holes in his game.
With Kyrie heading into free agency again, there will be suitors for his talents. From my eye though, I think Boston GM Danny Ainge needs to face one fact: adding Kyrie to the young core of Jayson Tatum, Jaylen Brown, and Marcus Smart did not work out well. The Tatum-Brown-Smart trio, with Al Horford thrown into the mix, reached game 7 of the Eastern Conference Finals just last season, without the big money additions of Irving and Gordon Hayward, who were out due to injury.
The Celtics win total dropped from 55 last season to 49 this season, and Kyrie made it known he wasn’t happy about it. In the press, he claimed that he knew how to win, and all the Celtics needed to do was just listen to him. Then, around mid-January of this year, it was released that Kyrie called LeBron to apologize, saying that he now realized the difficulty of being “The Man” for a franchise, and that maybe he understood his role.
There are already murmurs being reported by the bigwigs of the NBA media saying that some franchises are more gun shy about signing Kyrie after his epic collapse in this season’s NBA playoffs. Kyrie scored 21.3 points, but he only hit on 38.5% from the floor on all shots. That won’t stop Boston from trying to resign him, or from teams like the Knicks (that is another story) and possibly the Lakers from pursuing him. Maybe the Lakers and a reunion with LeBron will be the best for him-it will take pressure off of him, and allow him to be what he should be: A Robin to someone’s Batman. And hopefully, he can become Tim Drake or Damien Wayne (no one can become Dick Grayson, sorry), instead of a Robin who ignores who he really is.