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Kevin Durant spoke to Bill Simmons on The Ringer the other day and of course, the recent Kyrie Irving/Isaiah Thomas trade was brought up. Yes, the interview was also used as an opportunity to let KD vent about organization loyalty and how he didn't abandon the Oklahoma City Thunder and that it's not his fault, but we all know the truth. It is his fault. This whole Golden State reign of terror is all his fault. Let us not forget:
This guy is the worst.

Anyways, when he went onto that podcast, he said this:
It's a perfect system for him (Kyrie) in Boston; it's a perfect fit. Because he's a 6-foot-3 Isaiah Thomas, basically, and Isaiah just thrived in that system, and then he got Gordon Hayward and Al Horford, who are gunna make plays for him, too.

Is he right about Kyrie being a six-foot-three Isaiah? Yea, he kind of is. There are differences in the ways that they play, but realistically, they do the same things.

First off, they're both shoot-first point guards. Where a true point guard will bring the ball up the floor and set up a play for their teammates, a lot of the time, these two will bring the ball up the court and set up plays for themselves. They're scorers, and they can hit from anywhere that they decide to shoot from.

Complimenting their ability to score outside of the key is their ability to drive to the hole and finish at the basket. We've seen Isaiah do this over and over: making a move, and using his quickness to sneak under the other team's big men and then floating the ball over their out-reached limbs for two. Some of the prettiest baskets from last season were executed like this. Kyrie does the same thing, except his movements are more tactical. Fancy-Hands Irving may be the best ball handler in the NBA, so instead of going directly at the hoop like IT4 does, Kyrie can sometimes take 50 dribbles and waste out the shot clock by himself, weaving his way in and out of the key before he gets to the rack and gets his points. It's sometimes frustrating to watch, but at other times it's exactly what your team needs. Remember when we beat the Cleveland Cavaliers last season when Avery Bradley shut down Kyrie? If we didn't have Avery a.k.a. the best perimeter defender in the league, Kyrie probably would've gotten an open shot and we would've lost the game. His ability to create space is impressive, and it's used often when trying to get to the basket.

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Lastly, the two both suck at defense! They're both notorious for letting people get by them. Isaiah's worth was constantly in question last year because of his defensive deficiencies, and Kyrie has been yelled at because of this forever. When it comes to Defensive Rating among other NBA players, Isaiah was found at #158 and Kyrie was ten spots worse at #168. Can you even name 158 NBA players? Because there are over 150 players who are better at defense than these two. And I hate that excuse that everyone uses for great offensive players who are no good defensively: well, they spend all of their energy on the offensive end of the court and then reserve energy while on defense. That is malarky and if it is true, then I don't want that player on my team.

To be honest, I'm not a huge fan of the shoot-first point guard. It obviously works if you have other All-Stars on your team, like it did for both the Cavs and Boston Celtics this postseason, but if your sole star is a shooting PG, then your team's game plan all of a sudden becomes predictable. The same guy will have the ball in their hands for 50% of the game; the same guy will put up 20+ shots per night; and the same guy will take the last shot. Yes, any star player will control the ball for the majority of the game, but one of the main duties of a point guard is to get their teammates involved and to move the ball around so that one guy isn't forced to do everything. If you're the guy who is forced to score all of the buckets, then a major component of your job is automatically eliminated. That makes it tough for the rest of your team to flourish.

Unless you're a legend of the game, hall of fame type player, your team won't got very far or win a championship with a shot heavy point guard in the spotlight. The 2016 Playoffs come to mind, when we lost in the first round to the Atlanta Hawks. Allen Iverson comes to mind. Kyrie before Lebron James came into the picture comes to mind. It's not a winning recipe. And while you may make a run at the trophy, chances are you won't win it.

With that being said, Isaiah made me eat my words on this topic time and time again, because he would shoot 20+ shots in a night, and he'd hit most of them, and we'd win the game. I'm sure Kyrie will do this on some nights too, but with the versatility that Danny Ainge has collected this offseason, I'm hoping that we won't have to see it too often.

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Odie Waukewan 8/26/2017 06:27:00 PM Edit
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