Published: Fri, April 06, 2018
Tech | By Amelia Peters

Former Cavs All-Star Kyrie Irving will miss the playoffs following knee surgery

Former Cavs All-Star Kyrie Irving will miss the playoffs following knee surgery

He's something of an expert.

This Celtics season is legit cursed. He played in just one NBA Finals, and in one other conference finals. "It might only come by a couple times for a lot of guys". And depending on who's eating up Kyrie's minutes - more on that later - losing a player of his magnitude could cost a team anywhere between 50 and 80 points of CARM-Elo (or roughly the difference between the Warriors and the Heat).

His absence from the postseason give Boston a major headache.

You'll get plenty of bright-side outlooks coming out of New England after this.

Boston will be entering the postseason minus the backcourt of Irving and Gordon Hayward, who suffered a dislocated ankle and fractured tibia against Cleveland on opening night. James has led his team to the finals a whopping seven straight years, and many experts don't predict the Raptors or the Celtics without Irving will be equipped to knock off "King James". Since Kyrie went out on March 11, Boston has beaten OKC, Portland, Utah and Toronto - all playoff teams - and it lost to Washington by one point.

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"The fracture in Irving's patella has completely healed, and his knee remains structurally sound", the Celtics said in a statement. And when he comes back, will he lose any of the athleticism that's so important to his game? They've relied on a core of young players and role players to generate open looks and defend.

But Horford will be 32 in June, and he has the chance to become a free agent next summer. Clearly, this isn't the news Celtics fans, or the Celtics themselves, or certainly Kyrie and his family, were hoping to hear. This might cause the Celtics to retain Marcus Smart in restricted free agency and/or extend Terry Rozier's contract this offseason.

He later made a pair of slick trades to turn Rajon Rondo, Marcus Thornton and a late first-round pick into Isaiah Thomas, Jae Crowder and another first-round pick - moves that, with Stevens at the helm, turned Boston into a top team in the East while having possession of those Brooklyn first-rounders - picks which became extremely valuable as the Nets sank to the bottom of the National Basketball Association just as Boston moved to the top.

As for Boston, without Irving to return, their championship odds have dropped from 7.1% to 2.8%, according to our algorithm. But whatever success Boston has in the playoffs will be overshadowed by wondering what could have been had the team played at full strength.

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