Excerpted from “Warriors-Celtics: Welcome to the future,” The San Francisco Chronicle.
By Bruce Jenkins
Warriors Steve Kerr comments
“It sure looks like Boston is the team of the future in the East, with the assets that they still have and their young talent and their coaching.” Warriors coach Steve Kerr said after practice Tuesday.
“Kyrie is amazing.
“That looks like a team that is going to be at the top of the East for a long time to come. Whether their time is now or the future, that’s to be determined. But they sure look like they want it to be right now. They’re really sound, and they’re motivated.
“Even without Gordon Hayward and that awful injury, Boston is just crushing people. So, it’s going to be really fun to go against them on Thursday. We know how tough it’s going to be.”
There hasn’t been a more complete point guard in the league at this early stage than Kyrie Irving, acquired in the Thomas deal. Irving will wear a mask to protect a facial fracture.
(Remember the last time Irving wore a mask? Nursing a fractured jaw, in 2012, he had a 41-point game against the Knicks).
He made an awfully bold decision, demanding a trade in his desire to escape Cleveland, and had to endure criticism from media members and from former and current NBA players over what appeared to be an entirely selfish act.
“So he wants to be the whole show, away from LeBron? Good luck with that,” went the line of reasoning. In response, Irving told reporters, “I’m not just this one-on-one individual that wants to go isolation every single time down the floor. That’s not how I appreciate the game.”
Behold the revelation: Under the guidance of Stevens, who preaches defense with a religious fervor, Irving has added that long-missing element to his game, while adopting a pass-first mentality and scoring virtually at will — best handle in the league, no questions asked — when the situation demands.
“Sometimes you get labeled things,” teammate Al Horford said. “It’s frustrating, because it’s like, ‘I’m not what they’re saying I am.’ Kyrie is making effort and hustle plays, he’s been tough on defense, and he’s our leader. I’ve just been blown away. I don’t think people really understand how good he is.”
Excerpts posted for purposes of discussion, article copyright (c) 2017, The San Francisco Chronicle all rights reserved.