Kyrie isn’t the superstar Boston was promised

The concept of a superstar is fairly easy to grasp. He is someone who can change the trajectory of a game simply by exercising his unique influence upon it. A superstar should be someone who attracts attention even when he’s not threatening to score, and when he is, defenders gravitate to him.

This is what the Boston Celtics were supposed to receive when they acquired Kyrie Irving last year. They expected to get a point guard who could take over games with his unparalleled dribbling skills and innate scoring ability. They expected someone who could rally his teammates, particularly after he said that he was ready for the challenge of being the top player on his team.

However, it’s become apparent that the Celtics were the victims of deception. The fact of the matter is that Kyrie cannot be the best player on a team, judging by his abysmal performance in the 2019 NBA Playoffs, particularly in the current Eastern Conference Semifinals against the Milwaukee Bucks. After Game 1, he’s simply fallen apart, handing in three bad performances in a row, particularly two horrid performances in Boston.

He shot 8-for-22 from the field in Game 3, and after the game promised that he’d “never shoot 8-for-22 again.” The very next game, he went back on the court at TD Garden and shot 7-for-22 from the field. So technically, he wasn’t lying in his post-game press conference. The problem is that a statement like “I’ll never shoot 8-for-22 again” comes with the assumption that his future performances won’t be worse.

So, this is why Kyrie can’t be the top player on a championship team. Everyone has bad games. It’s utterly impossible to avoid them. But true superstars will bounce back from poor performances, maybe not with some astonishing showing that makes every highlight reel in the country, but with a performance that restores confidence from both fans and his teammates. Kyrie didn’t do that; he followed up a dud with a bigger dud, and at home no less. Kyrie will leave the Celtics this year, as Boston embarks again on its journey to find a superstar who can lead them to their 18th championship.

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