Kyrie Irving: Celtics' Young Players Don't Know What It Takes to Win NBA Title

Paul KasabianSenior ContributorJanuary 13, 2019

Boston Celtics' Kyrie Irving, right , drives around Orlando Magic's Evan Fournier during the second half of an NBA basketball game, Saturday, Jan. 12, 2019, in Orlando, Fla. (AP Photo/John Raoux)
John Raoux/Associated Press

The Boston Celtics' roller-coaster season continued on Saturday, as they lost 105-103 to an Orlando Magic team that is six games under .500 and had lost four straight.

After the game, Celtics point guard Kyrie Irving had comments about the team's younger players:

Keith Smith @KeithSmithNBA

Kyrie Irving had a lot to say postgame but what stood out was “The young guys don’t know what it takes to be a championship level team. What it takes every day. And if they think it is hard now, what do they think it will be like when we’re trying to get to the Finals?”

Keith Smith @KeithSmithNBA

Kyrie continued with “There were no expectations last year. Everyone played free and easy. Everyone surpassed whatever they expected for themselves. This year? We all have high expectations. The players, the coaches, everyone. And that’s good, but we aren’t doing it yet.”

Keith Smith @KeithSmithNBA

Kyrie ended with “We can get there. We’ve got to be better. I’ve got to be better. We need to win these games on the road. That’s on me as a leader. I need to be a better leader and to help get us there.”

Irving knows a thing or two about playing for championship teams. He was the floor general for the 2015-16 Cleveland Cavaliers, who won the NBA Finals over the 73-win Golden State Warriors. Irving also helped guide the Cavs to an Eastern Conference championship alongside a crew that included LeBron James and Kevin Love.

James led those teams, although Irving was the clear second option. Now he's the leader of a young Celtics team that has experienced some success but has suffered from inconsistency this year. The C's have a young roster with more than half the team having four or fewer years of experience.

The Celtics' run to Game 7 of the Eastern Conference Finals last year sans Gordon Hayward for the entire season and Irving for the playoffs naturally brought lofty expectations, but the C's are just fifth in the Eastern Conference after the season's midway point.

For every impressive win against a tough opponent (e.g. a 135-108 victory over the 28-14 Indiana Pacers), there seems to a puzzling loss where the team looks lethargic (e.g. a 111-103 home loss to the 10-33 Phoenix Suns).

We'll see if the Celtics' young players heed Irving's call for the team to get better soon, as the team has a road matchup against the Brooklyn Nets on Monday.