Kyrie Irving Says He's Focused More on 'Big Picture' Than Stats

Adam Wells@adamwells1985Featured ColumnistJanuary 6, 2018

Boston Celtics' Kyrie Irving plays against the Minnesota Timberwolves during the first quarter of an NBA basketball in Boston, Friday, Jan. 5, 2018. (AP Photo/Michael Dwyer)
Michael Dwyer/Associated Press

Kyrie Irving's transition to the Boston Celtics has led to positive results for both parties, with the All-Star guard crediting a new focus on winning over stats as his biggest key to success.

After shooting just 6-of-16 from the field in Friday's 91-84 win over the Minnesota Timberwolves, Irving explained how he thinks about bad shooting nights at this point in his career, per ESPN's Chris Forsberg:

"As a young player I used to get stuck in one game and think that this was going to be the end all, be all. If I don't shoot well tonight, then I don't know if I'm going to make it until tomorrow, man. And that's just how maniacal I am about the game.

"But now it's really about the big picture. As long as you can affect the game on the defensive end, offensive end, and put your team in a great position to win, that's the only thing that really matters."

Irving's scoring average has dropped slightly from a career-high 25.2 points per game last season with the Cleveland Cavaliers to 24.2 in 40 games with the Celtics. His shooting percentage of 48.4 is the best rate of his career.

He's also excelled defensively. The 25-year-old has already been credited with 2.0 defensive win shares after posting totals under 2.0 each of the previous two seasons, per Basketball-Reference.com.

Irving said he couldn't "necessarily pinpoint" a moment when his perspective changed, but he called this season a "learning experience."

The changes in Irving's approach have paid off for the Celtics, who have the NBA's second-best record at 32-10.

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