The irreplaceable value of Kyrie Irving

Former Cleveland Cavaliers Kyrie Irving and LeBron James (Photo by Brian Babineau/NBAE via Getty Images)
Former Cleveland Cavaliers Kyrie Irving and LeBron James (Photo by Brian Babineau/NBAE via Getty Images) /

As the postseason moves along, the inconsistency of the Cleveland Cavaliers’ season continues to loom. Whether the team is experiencing inexplicable losing streaks or reshaping practically the entire roster at the trade deadline, a single element shapes all of Cleveland’s problems in one: The value that Kyrie Irving had for this team is both unmatched and irreplaceable.

As the final buzzer sounded at Quicken Loans Arena, marking an end to Game 2 — a Cleveland Cavaliers victory over the Indiana Pacers — the obvious became apparent after LeBron James had a historic night by dropping 46 points, 12 rebounds and 5 assists.

Now if you were a fan and didn’t watch the game and you read that stat line, mouth agape, it’s almost certain that you would confidently check the score and wait to see a blowout victory for the Cavaliers. However, as you check the final score and see what it actually was, mouth still agape, you would stare at it in amazement. Maybe even in confusion. Wondering how.

When your team wins a playoff game, you’re supposed to be joyous and confident going into the next one.

That is unless one player scores 46% of your entire team’s points and they’re only able to win by 3 points. That is unless your second best player manages to score just 15 points. That is unless the four players your team acquired at the trade deadline to fix everything and almost simultaneously increase the team’s odds at winning a championship manage to score only 15 points combined.

Closer introspection made the obvious even more apparent.

The Cleveland Cavaliers drastically miss the superior talent that is Kyrie Irving.

Kyrie was LeBron’s sidekick. When LeBron needed someone he could count on, it was Kyrie. When LeBron scored 41 points in Game 5 of the NBA Finals; Kyrie was right beside him matching his total. When LeBron posted a triple double in Game 7 of the Finals, giving all he could give; Kyrie was right there with him, sealing the game with a championship-clinching three pointer.

Kyrie was the Robin to the Batman that is LeBron. Or better yet, he was another superhero entirely and not a sidekick at all. That’s what’s made the void left in his departure so hard to fill.

The minute Kyrie took his talents to Boston, the Cavaliers organization knew they had to surround LeBron with a point guard that could fill the void left by Irving. So they added Derrick Rose and Jose Calderon. They acquired Isaiah Thomas and eventually George Hill.

Each of those players has attempted  to give the Cavaliers just a fraction of what Kyrie gave.

While the Cavaliers managed to win 50 games in the regular season without Kyrie, an impressive feat no doubt, the playoffs are a different animal. Teams are able to study every detail of each other. Their plays, tendencies, defensive strategies, and everything in-between.

They can also single out a player.

While it’s nearly impossible to stop LeBron , he is human. If he doesn’t get help from his teammates this postseason, the Cleveland Cavaliers will not make it far. They need players to step up.

Kevin Love, Kyle Korver, Rodney Hood, Jordan Clarkson, JR Smith, George Hill, Larry Nance Jr., Jeff Green and Jose Calderon all need to increase their level of play for their team in order to be successful. Not only for this series, but for the entire postseason.

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