Kyrie Irving vows to not question his teammates in public anymore
Kyrie Irving has been openly frustrated with some of his younger teammates this season, but the Boston Celtics star acknowledged on Monday that voicing those frustrations publicly may not be the best way to improve results.
After the Celtics lost a close game to the Orlando Magic on Saturday, Irving spoke at length with reporters about how the team lacks “experience.” He then went into a rant about younger players not making the most of their minutes.
“You’ve got to come in and make an impact for the minutes that you’re playing out there. You’ve got to appreciate being out there and just competing,” Irving said, per John Karalis of MLive.com. “It doesn’t matter who you’re going against. It matters the type of preparation you have, what you’re going out and trying to accomplish.”
There’s a belief that Irving is frustrated with Jayson Tatum, whose play has been inconsistent this year. He scored just 16 points on 6-of-16 shooting against Orlando, but Irving’s comments seem to be directed toward one or more teammates who came off the bench.
In any event, it sounds like the commentary was not well-received. On Monday, Irving admitted that he should not be questioning his teammates in the media.
“I never want to come from a place where I don’t want to sound like, or make it feel like, I don’t want to win a championship,” he said, according to ESPN’s Ian Begley. “Sometimes I may come off and say things, never to question my teammates in public like that ever again; I just want to win so bad.”
Irving said his emotions can sometimes get the best of him because he wants to win so badly, but he obviously understands he needs to do a better job of being a leader. Whether the things he has been saying are true or not, it’s clear they’re bothering his teammates and possibly others within the organization if he felt the need to address them.
We saw from the way Irving spent his time after a recent game against the Miami Heat that he is all-in on contending for a title, but he needs to be careful not to put too much pressure on his own team. Remember, this is the same Celtics team that reached Game 7 of the Eastern Conference Finals without him a year ago. They may not be quite as inexperienced as Irving insists they are.