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The Read & React: Kyrie Irving, point god

Before training camp opened up, Kyrie Irving talked about becoming a “true point guard” with the Celtics. It’s just the preseason, but that prediction is becoming a reality.

NBA: Preseason-Boston Celtics at Charlotte Hornets Jeremy Brevard-USA TODAY Sports

Mike DePrisco: This is the best we've seen Irving so far in a Celtics uniform. He was controlling the flow of the game on offense with his scoring and distributing, but also made some plays on defense. It looks like he's benefiting from the space and movement from Boston's offense, which could spell trouble for the rest of the league.

flceltsfan: I've been a little hesitant to really like Kyrie. I mean I have spent so many years disliking him. I was afraid that he would be selfish but after watching him in this game, I'm really getting to like him. 10 assists and no turnovers. What's not to like?

Also, I was worried about the defense with Avery and Jae gone, but I've been impressed so far with their defense and I know it's going to get better. After 4 preseason games, I'm more excited about this team than ever.

Bill Sy: After the game, Kyrie talked to the NBA Shootaround crew and the first question was:

My mentions blew up from fan bases in both Boston and Cleveland. Celtics fans quickly pointed out that Boston was 2nd in total passes last season while Cleveland finished 26th. Cavs fans were a little defensive and pointed out the team’s record when LeBron didn’t play. Frankly, to me, the proof is in the pudding. It’s just the preseason, but in three games, Irving has made half of his 36 field goal attempts and totaled 16 assists with only three turnovers. And from what I can gather, only this shot came in isolation:

You could argue this was ISO too, but it came off a pick switch with the bigger and slower Marvin Williams D’ing him up:

Most of his shots have come out of pick-and-pops with Horford, catch and shoot opportunities with other playmakers attacking the paint and finding him on the perimeter, and in transition. It only took two weeks of training camp for Brad Stevens to kill off the ISO Irving narrative.

Romy Nehme: Does Kyrie look slight to you or is it just me? Slim Kyrie confirmed today that he’s on a plant-based diet, joking with Chauncey that all players wise up at some point and kick their bad eating habits as they mature and start taking care of their bodies. That’s terrific news, but it also might account for why Kyrie’s shot has, at least to me, looked a bit forced from distance in the earlier games -- almost as though the basket was a few inches farther than he expected it to be. We’ve seen various adjustments from Celtics players throughout the preseason and will continue seeing them throughout the season, but Kyrie looked more attuned to his body today as his trademark effortlessness returned. And boy was it a sight to behold. It looks like the tune up is complete. Cleveland, here comes Kyrie.

Tim MacLean: Sticking with Kyrie, I was impressed with his defensive efforts on Wednesday, specifically on a play where he dropped down into the paint to deflect an alley-oop pass intended for Dwight Howard, resulting in a Hornets turnover.

He’s not going to make heady plays like that all the time but it’s nice to see him trying on the less glamorous end of the floor. Maybe it won’t last forever, who knows. But it was certainly nice to see during a meaningless preseason game.

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