It was the news that shocked the world. Of all teams, Boston??? Kyrie had reportedly narrowed his preferred destinations down to 4 late last month, and the Celtics weren’t one of them. But at just past 7:00 PM, the news became official. Kyrie is a Celtic. Here’s what Cleveland got in return:
Celtics are sending Thomas, Crowder, Ante Zizic and Brooklyn’s 2018 first-round pick for Kyrie Irving, league sources tell The Vertical. https://t.co/gdaT9UjVGl
— Shams Charania (@ShamsCharania) August 22, 2017
The big name is obviously Isaiah Thomas. He’s pretty much the same player as Irving, just, you know, shorter. Being that Thomas was the “main man” in Boston, he saw a bit more volume, but, all things considered, they’re pretty equal as players. Here are their numbers:
Thomas: 28.9 PPG, 5.9 APG, 2.7 RPG, 46% FG, 26.5 PER
Irving: 25.2 PPG, 5.8 APG, 3.2 RPG, 47% FG, 23.0 PER
The elephant in the room with Thomas has always been his defense. While it’s true that he’s pretty much a traffic cone on the defensive end, so is Kyrie. Irving gets heat for his lackluster defense, but not nearly as much as Thomas, when, in reality, they’re pretty much equal on that end. Maybe it’s because Irving has the potential to be a decent defender, as he’s 5 inches taller. I can’t see Kyrie ever being a respectable defender, though.
Jae Crowder is the other big player in the deal. He’s sort of a Kevin Love-Tristan Thompson hybrid. He can shoot the three, but can also crash the glass. I can see him playing a spot up shooter role in his minutes with the first team, and a secondary scorer role with the bench. He’s a gritty player who can play the type of role you need him to. Good addition.
The final player in the deal was Ante Zizic. I don’t know much about him other than the fact that he’s a 20-year old, 7’0” big man who’s garnered comparisons to Nikola Jokic. He could be a factor in the post-LeBron era, but nobody’s really thinking about that right now.
The piece that Danny Ainge was probably most wary about giving up was the Nets’ 2018 first round pick. Even with the acquisiton of D’Angelo Russell, the Brooklyn are still going to be bottomfeeders, and their upcoming first round pick should be a top-5 one. That pick alone may entice a 33-year old LeBron to resign with Cleveland.
And Cleveland got all of this for Kyrie Irving. He had a good season last year, but it’s anyone’s guess as to how he’d perform in the wine and gold this upcoming year after an offseason of drama. So Cleveland got Isaiah Thomas, Jae Crowder, Ante Zizic, and a top-5 pick for a guy who didn’t even want to be there in the first place. Talk about robbery.