Why Atlanta Hawks fans shouldn’t want Kyrie Irving

ATLANTA, GA - APRIL 9: Kyrie Irving
ATLANTA, GA - APRIL 9: Kyrie Irving /

Kyrie Irving is on the trade block. If he’s traded it’s a move that falls somewhere in between Kevin Durant leaving OKC last summer and Ice Cube leaving NWA on the guys-that-surprisingly-left-greatness scale.

The difference is people knew Durant was going to be a free agent but the cracks in the Cleveland Cavaliers locker room walls had been mostly hidden. Now it’s clear that the chemistry of this team has been a volatile mix just waiting to explode. Maybe it’s the unexpectedness of the situation that has caused everyone to lose their collective minds, but it’s time for most to step back from the idea that offering the farm for Irving is the right move.

There’s no current rumors tying the Hawks to Irving and it would be a surprise if there were. That hasn’t stopped many in Atlanta from clamoring to try and get him.

Yes, superstars win championships in the NBA. There’s no denying the impact that big time players can have on an organization, as there’s a clear correlation between stars and wins. However, many fans confuse that into meaning that stars are the only reasons for wins.

Kyrie Irving
Kyrie Irving /

Kyrie Irving is a wonderfully gifted player who has more highlight Youtube clips than Phil Jackson has made enemies in New York…alright maybe. He is arguably the greatest ball handler the league has ever seen and is a dominant one on one force offensively. That may be all he is though. Seriously, he’s extremely fun to watch but what makes fans think he’s going to help them win?

The league has seen guys like Irving time and again fail to win championships on their own. Allen Iverson came the closest in 2001 but still fell 3 games short to the Los Angeles Lakers. Stephon Marbury, Steve Francis, even players as recently as Derrick Rose and Isaiah Thomas have all tried to be the high scoring point guard that lead their teams to glory and all fell way short. We just watched Russell Westbrook put up one of the best statistical seasons of all time and his team was knocked out of the first round!

Irving has never proven to be a willing passer or rebounder and hasn’t ever been acclaimed of making his teammates better. He also has yet to learn how to make an impact on defense consistently. One could argue that even his desire to leave LeBron James after three straight NBA Finals appearances shows you the value he places on brand over winning. Sacrificing the stability of your team to obtain Kyrie Irving will not get you to the promised land.

However, somebody has to get him! So why not Atlanta? Hawks fans are understandably desperate for success. Even after a 10 year run of mediocrity that culminated with many of us trying to figure out how we ever convinced ourselves that signing Dwight Howard was a good idea.

That’s where blind ambition for stars landed us. Yes, Kyrie is clearly better than Dwight but even if the Cavs were crazy enough to agree to a deal straight up for Dennis Schroder the team wouldn’t be landing anything more than another run at a 5 or 6 seed in the playoffs. That’s exactly what the front office should be trying to avoid.

In reality, any real trade offer would have to involve the likes of Taurean Prince and/or John Collins along with Schroder and a first round pick, which would even further decimate the roster you’re trying to surround your star with. It’s been said a few times since the arrival of Collins that the Hawks have a sneaky good young core that for now is flying under the radar.

Add a top 5 draft pick to that core next season and the Hawks are on their way to really building something that could last. Prince, Collins, Deandre Bembry and Schroder are legitimate building blocks.

This isn’t an argument just against trading for Kyrie Irving. It’s one that’s arguing against any compromise that tries to cheat our way back into the playoffs. Atlanta has a new general manager in Travis Schlenk who has seen first hand how the Warriors built a team that is now currently on one of the greatest runs in sports history. It wasn’t by signing Kevin Durant, which was just the culmination of the process.

It was by drafting Steph Curry, Klay Thompson and Draymond Green. And then it was by deciding not to trade Klay for Kevin Love when they had the chance. Sound familiar? Schlenk, based off his early decisions, seems determined to build this thing the right way. The fans should support that.

This season probably won’t be the most entertaining from a success standpoint. But it could be the year of which we all fondly look back at and remember how the Hawks first ever championship run began.

Next: Hawks waive Diamond Stone

Kyrie Irving will be entertaining where ever he goes, but after 10 years of wanting any player who could even sniff an all-star game, it’s nice to finally be able to relax and watch a team grow again. Hawks fans don’t have turn themselves into the personified echo of Joel Embiid. Because there’s no need to just unwillingly “trust” a plan, instead lets try to Enjoy the Process. It’s a novel idea for fans and will make an even better t-shirt.