June 8, 2016, 12:14 pm
After missing last year’s Finals with a broken kneecap Kyrie Irving was supposed to be the difference maker for the Cavs in 2016. Through two games, however, he’s been more of a liability. Despite shooting 8-of-9 on catch-and-shoot opportunities, Irving has gone just 12-for-36 from the field and 1-for-7 from three. On top of those inefficient totals, Irving has also committed more turnovers (6) than assists (5).
In discussing what the team needs from Irving, head coach Tyrone Lue told NBA.com that: “He has the best handle in the NBA, so he’s able to play iso basketball. But he’s got to make quick decisions and he understands that.” Irving’s willingness to facilitate the offense has become a growing issues in the series, as Golden State’s ability to manically switch on defense has stymied Cleveland’s pick and roll attempts.
It wouldn’t be fair to pin the Cavs’ struggles on Irving alone, but there is a growing sense around the league that this series has become a referendum on the team as currently constructed. On the most recent episode of The Lowe Post, ESPN’s Brian Windhorst claimed that “everything could be on the table” this offseason (including Irving and Love’s spots on the team) if the Cavs were to lose in embarrassing fashion. If he continues to struggle Irving’s role on the team will be questioned all offseason.
In order to regain some degree of respectability the Cavs will need Irving to attack the basket and spot-up without hesitation, rather than resorting to over dribbling isolations.