Irving is coming off of a very productive month for the Celtics, averaging 24.5 points. Kyrie has also consistently been the most creative player on the Boston roster, and provided 7.2 assists in 13 games played in December.
In a team that needs Irving to produce the catalyst on the offensive end, his spot left open from injury will have to be filled by 4th year guard Terry Rozier. Rozier had been one of the pieces that was being included in multiple trade rumors away from Boston. Rozier was often mentioned because of the young prospect he is, but it is likely that Boston will elect not to trade the guard due to lack of depth at the point guard position. Rozier had 15 points against the Spurs, a game in which he had extended minutes as a result of Kyrie’s eye injury.
This injury comes at a trying time for Boston, who have only won 3 of the last 8 games. Boston has recently played some of the West’s best after losing to the San Antonio Spurs and Houston Rockets. After a strong start, the Celtics are starting to fade away in an Eastern Conference that has gotten immensely better since last season. The Pacers and the Bucks have been better than most predicted, and the 76ers and Raptors have met the high expectations that were set prior to the season.
Boston will now play three teams that are under .500% in the Timberwolves, Mavericks, and Nets before they play the streaking Pacers. The Celtics and their role players will need to play improved basketball if they want to keep pace with the East as Kyrie is out with an injured eye. The short term success of Boston seems to rest with the young, capable talent of Terry Rozier and Jaylen Brown. Both will be receiving more minutes and touches each game Kyrie Irving will miss.