Just when we all thought this adventurous NBA off season was finally starting to die down, Cavs point guard Kyrie Irving drops this bomb on us. That's right, Irving wants out of Cleveland and like many of you, I was STUNNED and did not see this coming at all. Why would Irving want to leave possibly the best team in the east, he's got a nice little thing going there and next to Lebron is the best player on the team. But that exactly is why he wants to be traded, he wants to be THE guy and I can normally understand that for some players but with the situation Irving is in, it makes no sense and just makes him look like a brat. Now, with a player of Irving's caliber becomes available, the Celtics ears perked up and just did the due diligence and asked about Kyrie and this sent all of the Celtics fan base in a frenzy. Fans are wanting to swap Kyire and Isaiah and I've heard both sides of the argument but I'm here to tell you that this team shouldn't trade for Irving for a few reasons.
Let's start with these two on the offensive side, people will say "Kyrie is an amazing with the ball! He's got handles and scores with ease!" Well that may be true Kyrie can do fun stuff with the ball, but that's it. These two are incredibly similar offensively whether we look at their stats from this past season or even their career. Don't believe me? Take a look:
Now, let's take a look at these charts, is there any real glaring difference? No, not really. They both are shooting the same for their careers and while Irving is 3 years younger than Isaiah, the stats are the same. So you could say Isaiah and Kyrie are the same then since they put up the same numbers and why bother trading for someone you already have? Even this past season to they had relatively similar numbers while looking at the above chart and a dive into slightly more advanced stats in regards to percentages. Isaiah Thomas had 28.9 ppg 19.4 FGA 46/38% splits 62% True shooting% 10.9 offensive win shares, while Kyrie had: 25.2 ppg 19.7 FGA 47/43% splits 58% True shooting% 7.4 offensive win shares. Yes, those stats show Kyrie shot more (barely), but have you seen his teammates? You'd cover those guys too and you leave Kyrie the chance to shoot more since he can. Whereas Isaiah is covered most of the time pretty well. Just take a closer look, Isaiah has better production on fewer shots and last I checked, a player with better production on fewer shots is better. So the claim Kyrie is much better than Isaiah offensively, can be put to bed.
My second part of this argument is defense. This part could be where you laugh and be like "Kyrie is so much better, he's not short like Isaiah!" Again like the offense, let's take a look at the stats:
Kyrie vs Isaiah overall/defensive stats
Hmm, notice anything glaring again? Again, there isn't. Defensive rating, only separated by a point and what do you know, Isaiah is better and it seems opponents score more off Kyrie too. Seeing that Kyrie has worse opponents points off turnovers and Kyrie BARELY commits less than Isaiah too shows that Kyrie has some issues on defense. While these numbers may not entirely win you over, here's these: Isaiah Thomas: defense: 1.6 defensive win shares and a 49.9% opponent FG%and Kyrie Irving: defense: 1.5 defensive win shares and a 45.5% opponent FG%. Take a look at those numbers and tell me Kyrie is really an upgrade? He’s not. It doesn’t matter that he’s taller, weighs more, both of their defense stinks. Moving on.
Finally, a key factor for any player, in my opinion, is health. Kyrie has never played over 72 games and has been in the 50's in 3 of his 6 years in the NBA. Being 25 is nice, but it seems his health is not a 100% guarantee either. If he had these injury concerns at age 19-24, what do the next few years look like? However, when you look like at Thomas's career, the least he's played was 65 games and that was his rookie season. Otherwise, he's averaging 73.5 games per season and Kyrie is only averaging 63.5 games per season. I'd rather have the more durable player than one who seems to have health concerns more often.
So to say Boston should trade Isaiah (and more) for Kyrie is just foolish. Offensively and defensively, we saw that these guys are both very similar to each other. Games played, Isaiah is much more reliable than Kyrie. People saying they want Kyrie over Isaiah seems to be going off an eye test and the name. Celtics fans, take a look at the stats and you'll see these guys are essentially the same, why trade away your face of the franchise and other assets for someone who is the same guy? You don't, you cash in those assets for an even bigger prize. In the meantime, I leave you with this and you tell me what you want if we're all about eye tests.