Brad Stevens: ‘We need Kyrie to be the best version of ourselves’

"We just need him to get healthy," the Celtics coach said after Wednesday's game.

Kyrie Irving
Boston Celtics point guard Kyrie Irving sits on the bench during the first half against the Detroit Pistons. –AP Photo/Michael Dwyer

This season, Kyrie Irving leads the Boston Celtics in points, assists, minutes, free throws, and three-pointers per game. Despite that production from the point guard, there have been whispers that the Celtics are better without Irving on the court.

After Boston rallied for a 118-110 win over the Detroit Pistons on Wednesday, with a knee injury sidelining Irving for a second-straight game, the question was put to head coach Brad Stevens.

Stevens flatly denied the prompt.

“No. We need Kyrie to be the best version of ourselves,” Stevens said. “We all need to consistently play better as a group. We’ve done that at times, and we’ve rode Kyrie in a lot of cases and he’s carried us in a lot of games.

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“We need everybody at their fullest. There’s no question about it — he’s going to be a guy that is going to make a ton of plays for us moving forward. We just need him to get healthy.”

Stevens noted Irving’s status is “day-to-day,” adding that the point guard should only take part in Sunday’s All-Star Game if his knee is completely healthy.

The question of Irving’s place on the Celtics arose because of the team’s record in his absence — 28-19 (.596) with him, 9-2 (.818) without — and the perceived contrast between his ball-dominant style and Stevens’s flowing offense.

The Celtics coach, for one, didn’t spend much time pondering the quandary before siding with his six-time All-Star.

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