Kyrie Irving's Top Accomplishments of the Season
BOSTON – What a season it was for the Boston Celtics.
Fifty-five wins. Another trip to the Conference Finals. Rapid growth by budding stars. Continued improvement by established veterans. It was impressive all around.
Along the route of Boston’s 101-game journey, many feats were accomplished, some by the team, and some by individuals. Over the course of this week, we will dive into all of the most notable accomplishments.
We opened up with the team’s accomplishments. Now, we’ll move on to individual accomplishments, beginning with those by Kyrie Irving.
No. 4 – Breaking the 30-Point Barrier 18 Times
Irving has become a household name during his career because of his ability to score the basketball. Despite playing in only 60 games this season, Irving scored in bulk more often than he ever had previously in his career.
The talented point guard broke the 30-point barrier 18 times in 60 games during his first season in Boston. Why is that number so incredible? Because he had never come close to touching it in the past.
Irving’s previous career-best mark for 30-point games in a season was 13, a number he reached during his second NBA season in 2012-13. He surpassed that total by 38.5 percent this season, while playing in nearly the exact same number of games (60 this season, compared to 59 in 2012-13).
It’s a scary thought, but this accomplishment tells us that we might just be seeing the tip of the iceberg when it comes to Irving scoring in bunches.
No. 3 – Being One of Three NBA Players with Elite Scoring/Shooting Splits
Being one of three with regard to any accomplishment is impressive. Simultaneously being one of two with regard to that accomplishment only makes it sweeter.
Irving was one of only three players in the league this season who averaged at least 24.0 points per game while also shooting at least 49.0 percent from the field and 40.0 percent from 3-point range. The other two players were perennial MVP candidates Stephen Curry and Kevin Durant.
While becoming one of only three players to compile such numbers this season, Irving also became one of only two Celtics in the franchise’s history to do so. He joined Larry Bird as the only C’s who have ever averaged 24.0 PPG or more while shooting the ball so efficiently.
Irving finished the season having averaged 24.4 PPG on 49.1 percent shooting from the field and 40.8 percent shooting from long distance.
No. 2 – Logging the Most Efficient Season of His Career
Accomplishment No. 4 combines with accomplishment No. 2 to prove a very important fact regarding Irving’s play: he’s still improving.
Irving’s 2017-18 season stands as the most efficient season of his established career, and it’s really not that close. He shot a career-best 49.1 percent from the field this season; his previous high was 47.3 percent. His true-shooting percentage was a career-best 61.0 percent; his previous high was 58.3 percent. His usage rate was 31.0; his previous high was 30.8. His player efficiency rating was 25.0; his previous best was 23.0.
The bar was already high for Irving before the 2017-18 season. He took advantage of Boston’s system this year and moved the bar even higher.
No. 1 – Starting the NBA All-Star Game
Irving was selected to his fifth All-Star game this season. What made the selection even more special was that fans voted him in as a starter for the game.
Superstar veterans like LeBron James and Kevin Durant, each of whom have started in the All-Star game at least seven times, have probably grown a bit numb to the notion of being voted in as a starter for the game. But only 10 players earn that right every season, and that makes it special. It’s not a given, and earning a starting nod is an incredible accomplishment. It validates a player’s level of performance, as well as his status among fans.
Irving earned that right this season for the third time in his career. The other two instances arrived in 2014 and 2017.