Sam Says: NBA player Kyrie Irving facing unfair criticism this season



ON THE MOVE: Junior Sydney Heim sprints down midfield towards the goal. Heim was awarded with All-American and All-State honors this season.

Sam Blas, Senior Sports Editor

The NBA Playoffs are now in full swing. We have seen dominant play from Giannis Antetokounmpo, James Harden, Kawhi Leonard, and Kevin Durant. But, I would like to focus on Boston Celtics point guard, Kyrie Irving, who I believe is facing unfair criticism throughout the current series between the Celtics and the Bucks.

The main source of criticism seems to be stemming from his inefficient shooting during games two – four, where he went 4-18, 8-22 and 7-22 respectively. To be fair, this is a very low percentage in comparison to what Irving has usually shoots, which through the regular season, he held a very impressive percentage of 48.7%.

There is no excuse for his very poor performance in game two. But, to only focus solely on his shooting performance during game three and four for criticism is just flat out ignorant.

In game three, Irving was still able to score twenty-nine points, six assists, and three steals. Which, disregarding his efficiency, would be considered a very strong showing. The same could be said about game four, where he had scored twenty-three points, ten assists, and two steals. Another strong showing, when disregarding his efficiency.

Russell Westbrook, who is hailed as one of the best point guards of the decade, consistently shoots like this on a nightly basis, yet he is still respected and presented as a top five point guard in the NBA today.

And people seem to forget how well he did in the series against the Pacers, where Irving lead the Celtics to 4-0 series victory over their opponents. He averaged 22.5 points, 4.5 rebounds, and 7.75 assists. Irving’s critics seem to ignore how well he did in the first round, which is very extremely unfair to him.

Not to mention how well he performed in the playoffs before. People seem to forget how he hit one of the most impressive shots in NBA history which secured him a Finals win. Or how he scored forty-one points in that same series. Or how he averaged twenty-five points in both the 2016 and 2017 playoffs. Irving is easily one of the best playoff performers in the NBA and to disregard that fact due to three “bad” games isn’t the brightest of ideas.

Lastly, are we going to ignore the fact that the Celtics bench scored a whopping seven points in game four and seventeen points in game three? Irving should be last person being held accountable for the Celtics’ shortcomings, as he has been leading the team in scoring and assists.

Simply put, Irving deserves more respect in the NBA. He is one of the best playoff performers of our generation, and to base your judgment of his ability off of three games is just flat out ignorant. Two of the games which have been so heavily criticized weren’t even bad performances on his part. So, I ask you, please withhold judgment until the end of the series.