Boston Celtics all-star guard Kyrie Irving has gone on record to discuss the struggles faced by himself and the young members of the Celtics roster. Speaking with ESPN’s Rachel Nichols, Irving discussed how the Celtics, whose roster relies heavily on players under 25 years old, such as Jayson Tatum, Jaylen Brown and Marcus Smart, have labored to live up to their potentials.
Kyrie Irving sits down to talk about the Celtics' "trying" season: "we have a bunch of young men in our locker room who feel they're capable of doing a lot more than they're doing." We also talked free agency, the LeBron phone call, & how anger can fester if you don't address it pic.twitter.com/VGNqkifWnk
— Rachel Nichols (@Rachel__Nichols) February 20, 2019
Irving directly addressed the shortcomings of the Celtics so far this season in his interview with Nichols, as the Celtics were once considered preseason favorites to claim the Eastern Conference Championship, but now sit in only fourth place.
“It’s been a trying year for us… we basically have a bunch of young men in our locker room who feel they’re capable of doing a lot more than they’re doing, and that’s okay, but there’s a maturity that you have to have… there’s a professionalism that you really have to showcase every single day… that’s what the great ones do.”
Also mentioned in the interview was Terry Rozier, who started at point guard in last year’s playoffs after Kyrie Irving went down with a season-ending knee injury, leading the Celtics offense en route to becoming Eastern Conference Runners-up, which Irving states has sparked competitive spirits between the two.
“[Rozier] played in the playoffs, he did extremely well. Coming back, that’s a natural competition that me and him have. It is what it is. No one wants to say it, but I will.”
Some of the frustrations that now exist between with the Celtics may stem from forward Gordon Hayward, who has failed to return to his all-star level from his time with the Utah Jazz following his horrific injury sustained in the opening game of the 2017-18 season. His slow start to his second season with the Celtics reportedly had some of his younger teammates upset. Hayward has averaged 11.2 points this season, his lowest total since his rookie campaign in 2010-11.
The tension between the Celtics teammates seemed to publicly come to somewhat of a boiling point when Jaylen Brown and Marcus Morris Sr. engaged in a shoving match during a timeout.