Kyrie Irving’s Defense Will Improve Under Celtics Coach Brad Stevens, Says Danny Ainge

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Kyrie Irving’s Defense Will Improve Under Celtics Coach Brad Stevens, Says Danny Ainge

Post by bobheckler on Wed Sep 06, 2017 10:46 am

https://nesn.com/2017/09/kyrie-irvings-defense-will-improve-under-celtics-coach-brad-stevens-says-danny-ainge/



Kyrie Irving’s Defense Will Improve Under Celtics Coach Brad Stevens, Says Danny Ainge



by NESN Staff


on Tue, Sep 5, 2017 at 9:07PM



Boston Celtics star Kyrie Irving is not a great defensive player, but the man who traded for him expects to see improvement in that area of the point guard’s game under the coaching of Brad Stevens.

“You’ll see that he’s a better passer. I think the people that watch Kyrie play a lot can see his passing and his potential there as a passer,” Celtics president of basketball operations Danny Ainge told the team’s website.

“LeBron (James) was pretty much the point guard in Cleveland, and Kyrie was a point guard often when LeBron wasn’t on the court and so forth. I think he’s a fantastic passer, and I think that defensively he’s got to improve and I think he will in Brad’s system.”

There’s no question that Stevens is an excellent coach, one that regularly gets maximum production out of his players. Playing with a point guard who isn’t a lockdown defender is nothing new for Stevens and the Celtics. Isaiah Thomas, who was part of the trade that sent Irving to Boston from the Cleveland Cavaliers, also was a poor defender, and the Celtics still were able to come within three victories of reaching the NBA Finals last season.

Luckily for the Celtics, other players such as Marcus Smart and Jaylen Brown are excellent perimeter defenders, which will take some pressure off Irving. Irving already is an elite offensive player, and if he can improve defensively, the Celtics will have one of the top five or seven players in the world leading the franchise.




bob
MY NOTE:  In his previous iteration as a Cleveland Cavalier Kyrie Irving's defense was pretty bad.  Better than IT's?  Just a little, and that's pretty sad when you consider Kyrie is a reasonably-sized 6'3" and IT was 5'9" in sneakers with heels.  I believe what Danny said is likely to be true, however.  Not only has Brad shown he can squeeze blood out of a stone, Kyrie has something to prove.  He asked for a trade so he could "grow as a player and a man".  If he's the same ol' same ol' then he looks bad, and you know he doesn't want that. Only about 3 weeks to camp.



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Re: Kyrie Irving’s Defense Will Improve Under Celtics Coach Brad Stevens, Says Danny Ainge

Post by k_j_88 on Wed Sep 06, 2017 4:07 pm

I feel like perhaps I'm the only one who isn't concerned about Kyrie's defense that much. Maybe that's because the main defensive threats have been traded away so my perception of the team's defense has become jaded? Oh well, at least there will be scoring if nothing else lol!


KJ
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Re: Kyrie Irving’s Defense Will Improve Under Celtics Coach Brad Stevens, Says Danny Ainge

Post by bobheckler on Fri Sep 08, 2017 2:24 pm

I haven't sounded off on this point, but I think it is key.

Offensively IT and Kyrie are comparable players.  They are shoot first, pass second point guards.  IT is better at getting to the line, and is one of the best frito shooters in the league, which is a critical skill in close games but Kyrie is also quite exceptional (IT shot 90.9% last year and Kyrie shot 90.5%.  However, IT took 11.6ftas/36mpg and Kyrie only took 4.6ftas/36mpg, a HUGE difference).

Defensively, they aren't that far apart.  Was IT a horrible defender, perhaps the worst in the league?  Yes, but Kyrie isn't that much better.  HOWEVER, IT is 5'9" in heels and Kyrie is 6'3".  If Kyrie can up his defense even a little bit the difference between the two will grow because IT will never be much better than what he was under Brad. It reminds me of that old joke, where a guy is drunk and acting like a fool and someone makes fun of him for it and he replies "I may be drunk but tomorrow I'll be sober and you'll still be a jerk".  Kyrie may be a weak defender but next season he'll be 6'3" in Brad's system while IT will still be 5'9".

Since IT came here we saw where Bradley would be guarding the John Walls/Rondos/Schroders and IT would try not to get posted up by their SG.  One of the things that worried me when Danny traded AB, in order to fit Hayward under the salary cap, was "who is going to guard those starting point guards now?  Jaylen isn't quick enough.  Does this mean Rozier will be the default starter alongside IT?"  Trading for Kyrie answers this question since he might (won't know for another month +) be able to guard those PGs.  I'm not saying he's going to be a lockdown defender, he probably will never be that, but he might do a good enough job that Brad can consider starting Jaylen or Smart to defend the other team's big guard. If Kyrie can just hold his own against those guards then Jaylen and Smart are big and strong enough to eat their guys alive.

We lost defense with AB and JC, and that truly worries me longterm, but we gained a small amount of defense at point guard. In a league that is increasingly being pushed to the perimeter upgrading our defense on the primary ball handler at the perimeter is a solid plus.


bob


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Re: Kyrie Irving’s Defense Will Improve Under Celtics Coach Brad Stevens, Says Danny Ainge

Post by BleedGreen on Sun Sep 10, 2017 11:03 am

bobheckler wrote:I haven't sounded off on this point, but I think it is key.

Offensively IT and Kyrie are comparable players.  They are shoot first, pass second point guards.  IT is better at getting to the line, and is one of the best frito shooters in the league, which is a critical skill in close games but Kyrie is also quite exceptional (IT shot 90.9% last year and Kyrie shot 90.5%.  However, IT took 11.6ftas/36mpg and Kyrie only took 4.6ftas/36mpg, a HUGE difference).

Defensively, they aren't that far apart.  Was IT a horrible defender, perhaps the worst in the league?  Yes, but Kyrie isn't that much better.  HOWEVER, IT is 5'9" in heels and Kyrie is 6'3".  If Kyrie can up his defense even a little bit the difference between the two will grow because IT will never be much better than what he was under Brad.  It reminds me of that old joke, where a guy is drunk and acting like a fool and someone makes fun of him for it and he replies "I may be drunk but tomorrow I'll be sober and you'll still be a jerk".  Kyrie may be a weak defender but next season he'll be 6'3" in Brad's system while IT will still be 5'9".

Since IT came here we saw where Bradley would be guarding the John Walls/Rondos/Schroders and IT would try not to get posted up by their SG.  One of the things that worried me when Danny traded AB, in order to fit Hayward under the salary cap, was "who is going to guard those starting point guards now?  Jaylen isn't quick enough.  Does this mean Rozier will be the default starter alongside IT?"  Trading for Kyrie answers this question since he might (won't know for another month +) be able to guard those PGs.  I'm not saying he's going to be a lockdown defender, he probably will never be that, but he might do a good enough job that Brad can consider starting Jaylen or Smart to defend the other team's big guard.  If Kyrie can just hold his own against those guards then Jaylen and Smart are big and strong enough to eat their guys alive.

We lost defense with AB and JC, and that truly worries me longterm, but we gained a small amount of defense at point guard.  In a league that is increasingly being pushed to the perimeter upgrading our defense on the primary ball handler at the perimeter is a solid plus.


bob


great points
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Re: Kyrie Irving’s Defense Will Improve Under Celtics Coach Brad Stevens, Says Danny Ainge

Post by beat on Sun Sep 10, 2017 4:32 pm

Bob wrote.....Offensively IT and Kyrie are comparable players. They are shoot first, pass second point guards. IT is better at getting to the line, and is one of the best frito shooters in the league, which is a critical skill in close games but Kyrie is also quite exceptional (IT shot 90.9% last year and Kyrie shot 90.5%. However, IT took 11.6ftas/36mpg and Kyrie only took 4.6ftas/36mpg, a HUGE difference).


how much of that HUGE difference can be attributed to Bron?

It had no one else on the floor like him, no one even close. What would KI's FS attempts been like if Bron was elsewhere?

to lazy to do it but wonder what his attempts were on the games he played and Bron didn't?

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Re: Kyrie Irving’s Defense Will Improve Under Celtics Coach Brad Stevens, Says Danny Ainge

Post by worcester on Sun Sep 10, 2017 5:12 pm

IT looked to get fouled going to the rim. Kyrie looked foremost to score and didn't look to the refs to put him on the line.
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Re: Kyrie Irving’s Defense Will Improve Under Celtics Coach Brad Stevens, Says Danny Ainge

Post by wideclyde on Sun Sep 10, 2017 10:16 pm

It is very likely that Iriving's entire game improves with Stevens and his staff helping him. History already shows that every guy to wear green in the last few years has improved (except James Young).

If Irving listens and learns he may just become one of the top three players in the league.

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Re: Kyrie Irving’s Defense Will Improve Under Celtics Coach Brad Stevens, Says Danny Ainge

Post by red16russ11 on Mon Sep 11, 2017 11:40 am

Brad Stevens made KO a plus defender...........that means he can make anyone a plus defender.
If KI wants to be, he can be a good defender. I really think Brad will put him on the bench for extended periods of time if he doesn't commit on that end. Rozier and Smart will be happy to take his minutes!
That having been said, I agree with the above posters who say KI wants to be the man. If that is true, then he'll defend.....period, end of story!
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Re: Kyrie Irving’s Defense Will Improve Under Celtics Coach Brad Stevens, Says Danny Ainge

Post by beat on Mon Sep 11, 2017 12:09 pm

Bob H

could not find stats to show how many Foul shots Irving took when Bron was absent but here is this

I think worrying about Irving's foul shot attempts is sort of a non issue.

Cleveland took 1913 foul shots last season
Bron took 531 of these (.28%) of the total
Irving took 328 (17%)
Love was third with 295 (15%)

The Celts took a total of 1903 Foul shots last season
Thomas took 649 of these  (34%)
Smart was next with 250 (13%)
Crowder was third with 217 (11%)

To me if Bron wasn't in Cleveland and KI was "the man" his attempts at the line would increase pretty dramatically.  How much?  I'm guessing pretty much to what Thomas shot for us last season. Thinking he'll end up with somewhere around 550 attempts or about 30% of our total.

I'm willing to bet this much.

Irving will shoot a lot more foul shots for us than Thomas will for Cleveland.

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Re: Kyrie Irving’s Defense Will Improve Under Celtics Coach Brad Stevens, Says Danny Ainge

Post by bobheckler on Mon Sep 11, 2017 1:47 pm

beat wrote:Bob H

could not find stats to show how many Foul shots Irving took when Bron was absent but here is this

I think worrying about Irving's foul shot attempts is sort of a non issue.

Cleveland took 1913 foul shots last season
Bron took 531 of these (.28%) of the total
Irving took 328 (17%)
Love was third with 295 (15%)

The Celts took a total of 1903 Foul shots last season
Thomas took 649 of these  (34%)
Smart was next with 250 (13%)
Crowder was third with 217 (11%)

To me if Bron wasn't in Cleveland and KI was "the man" his attempts at the line would increase pretty dramatically.  How much?  I'm guessing pretty much to what Thomas shot for us last season. Thinking he'll end up with somewhere around 550 attempts or about 30% of our total.

I'm willing to bet this much.

Irving will shoot a lot more foul shots for us than Thomas will for Cleveland.

beat


beat,

All good questions.  We don't know how Brad will use Kyrie, whether he will be the primary ballhandler or if that will be Hayward or...We also don't know about IT in Cleveland.  Maybe the ball will go through IT more than it did with Kyrie or maybe it won't.  IT's high fta rate might have come from there really wasn't any other high-quality ballhandlers or dribble penetrators on the Celtics to take the load off of him and there is in Cleveland.

I went back and looked at the last year Kyrie played in Cleveland without LeBron.  So, that year, he was "the man".  That was 2013-2014 and Kyrie was only 21 years old, in his 3rd season as a pro.

2013-2014..........................................................2016-2017
35.2mpg, 4.8ftas/game--------------------------------35.1mpg, 4.6ftas/game

Almost identical stats without Lebron vs with LeBron, the biggest differences are in Kyrie's age and experience and the coach whose system he played in (Mike Brown vs Tyronn Lue).


bob



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Re: Kyrie Irving’s Defense Will Improve Under Celtics Coach Brad Stevens, Says Danny Ainge

Post by dboss on Mon Sep 11, 2017 2:32 pm

Responding to the subject matter, I do think that KI can become a better defender however I do question the extent to which improvement will be realized.

The Celtics were one of the best perimeter defensive teams defending the 3 point shot.  

There was however a drop off in their defense last year.  Their steals per game fell from #2 to #18.  They were #1 in opponents turnover but last year they dropped to #15.  I did not see where their pick and roll defense improved either.  

Team defense is often dependent on having players with above average defensive skills.  You cannot really teach that.  You can teach proper rotations and positioning techniques and you can devise schemes to take something away from the other team but in he end you have to have players that are capable of executing on defense and are willing to expend energy on the least fun part of the game.

The Celtics traded away 2 of their 3 best defenders including their best on the ball defender in Bradley.  

You bring in practically a new team which includes a group of players that have never played defense in the NBA (Tatum, Yabusele, Theis, Ojeleye, Nadar plus a few others)  On top of that you add several veteran players in Irving, Hayward, Morris, Baynes and Larkin.  None of them have played in the system.

On paper this year's roster looks noticeably weaker on defense as a collective group.  So while I expect Irving to defend his position better I do not expect a dramatic improvement because most of the roster is also new and will take some time to become a solid and cohesive defensive unit.

The maturation of Brown and Rosier, as key rotation players, along with rock solid Smart and Horford, will all be very important in helping 11 new teammates find their way on defense.

Morris and Baynes should fit in quickly because they are both solid defenders.

We are about 5 weeks out from the first game.

I can't wait.

dboss
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Re: Kyrie Irving’s Defense Will Improve Under Celtics Coach Brad Stevens, Says Danny Ainge

Post by bobheckler on Mon Sep 11, 2017 2:45 pm

dboss wrote:Responding to the subject matter, I do think that KI can become a better defender however I do question the extent to which improvement will be realized.

The Celtics were one of the best perimeter defensive teams defending the 3 point shot.  

There was however a drop off in their defense last year.  Their steals per game fell from #2 to #18.  They were #1 in opponents turnover but last year they dropped to #15.  I did not see where their pick and roll defense improved either.  

Team defense is often dependent on having players with above average defensive skills.  You cannot really teach that.  You can teach proper rotations and positioning techniques and you can devise schemes to take something away from the other team but in he end you have to have players that are capable of executing on defense and are willing to expend energy on the least fun part of the game.

The Celtics traded away 2 of their 3 best defenders including their best on the ball defender in Bradley.  

You bring in practically a new team which includes a group of players that have never played defense in the NBA (Tatum, Yabusele, Theis, Ojeleye, Nadar plus a few others)  On top of that you add several veteran players in Irving, Hayward, Morris, Baynes and Larkin.  None of them have played in the system.

On paper this year's roster looks noticeably weaker on defense as a collective group.  So while I expect Irving to defend his position better I do not expect a dramatic improvement because most of the roster is also new and will take some time to become a solid and cohesive defensive unit.

The maturation of Brown and Rosier, as key rotation players, along with rock solid Smart and Horford, will all be very important in helping 11 new teammates find their way on defense.

Morris and Baynes should fit in quickly because they are both solid defenders.

We are about 5 weeks out from the first game.

I can't wait.

dboss


dboss,

For those who are truly strung-out, like me, the first pre-season game is only 21 days away from today, exactly 3 weeks.

I know it's only pre-season, but 3 weeks goes down a little better than "about 5 weeks".   I'll take what I can get to feed my obsession and just hang in there for the 2 weeks of camp until the real games start in 5 weeks. cheers


bob


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Re: Kyrie Irving’s Defense Will Improve Under Celtics Coach Brad Stevens, Says Danny Ainge

Post by dboss on Mon Sep 11, 2017 3:10 pm

Bob

You are right about that!

dboss
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Re: Kyrie Irving’s Defense Will Improve Under Celtics Coach Brad Stevens, Says Danny Ainge

Post by dboss on Tue Sep 12, 2017 3:24 pm

Kyrie Irving played high school ball at St. Patrick High School in Elizabeth, New Jersey

Team name: The Celtics
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Re: Kyrie Irving’s Defense Will Improve Under Celtics Coach Brad Stevens, Says Danny Ainge

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