My MVP vote is cast for Shaved Kyrie Irving. I will aggressively defend Shaved Kyrie from any potential slanderous statements across social and regular media. Kyrie made the ultimate sacrifice, cutting off his admittedly cool as hell afro and opting instead for a more traditional shaved head look, and boy did it make a difference.
Through the first six games of the season, Kyrie’s afro weighed him down, as he averaged only 14 points a night on very un-Kyrie and kind of dismal 39% shooting, including 24% from three point land and 69% from the charity stripe. Last night, however, the weight was sheared off, and Kyrie was exploding again.
Kyrie was cooking early, putting Reggie Jackson, Andre Drummond, and Blake Griffin in a blender to cruise in for the layup. That was just the start of a night that would include four makes on seven attempts from the three point line en route to a 31 point performance where he shot 63/57/88 in the contest. It’s by far Kyrie’s best performance of the season, and a menacing return to form the star point guard.
This version of Kyrie is the version Danny Ainge traded for just over a calendar year ago. During the 3rd quarter against the Pistons, when the Celtics were struggling to find a rhythm on offense, Kyrie made three consecutive three point shots and followed those up by drawing a foul on a layup and making both free throws. This Kyrie is what the Celtics needed desperately during last season’s playoff run. The offense is going to go through slumps in these games, that’s Celtics basketball after all. Kyrie can maintain a high level of production while the rest of the offense finds their rhythm.
Kyrie is a man of many faces, as most Celtics fans are aware. This newly unleashed Fresh Haircut Kyrie is already making a run for my favorite version of Kyrie, but it only adds to the lore of a player who has offered up so many versions of himself. Last season, when Kyrie donned the Rip Hamilton mask, in 25 games he averaged 24.2 points and 5.5 assists on 46/38/87, which makes Masked Kyrie my other current favorite version, while Slightly Untucked Jersey Kyrie, Headband Kyrie fall somewhere in the middle, and Fro Kyrie ranks at the very bottom.
The Fro was unquestionably the coolest of Kyrie’s looks, but it’s lack of productivity being abruptly swept aside in favor of Fresh Cut Kyrie, who looks a lot less cool but has a much cooler game, more than makes up for the lost swag. Jayson Tatum doesn’t necessarily agree, as he said he told Kyrie “If you have a good game tonight, don’t blame it on the fro. I told him I didn’t want to hear nothing about your haircut.” Well, it’s true I’d hoped Kyrie would ball out while looking like a Smooth Pimp with the afro, I don’t believe in coincidence, and I think Shaved Kyrie is here to stay.