Three Days Later: The Kyrie Irving Trade

On Tuesday night, Kyrie Irving was traded to the Boston Celtics in exchange for Isaiah Thomas, Jae Crowder, Ante Zizic, and the Nets' unprotected 2018 first round pick. Some of the dust has settled. How should we feel now?

The Kyrie Irving trade still feels a bit surreal. After the painstaking process of examining potential trade partners, coming up with non-existent offers, and wondering about what they could mean for the team's future, the deal is done. There is still a lot of "wait and see" left here, but let's take a more analytical approach to how this trade went.

Since we already know about Kyrie, let's just break down what the Cavaliers got in return for him.

Isaiah Thomas

Remember how good Kyrie has been offensively? Isaiah Thomas might be better. Last year, Irving shot the ball at a slightly higher percentage overall, but according to Synergy Sports, Thomas was in the 97th percentile in the NBA scoring 1.125 points per possession (PPP). Irving was in the 85th percentile at 1.058. Over the course of the season, that's a substantial difference.

Thomas managed to take almost five catch-and-shoot three-pointers per game last year to Irving's two. Isaiah shot about 40% on these while Kyrie was a dazzling 48%, but let's think about how this new situation will affect Isaiah.

LeBron James, you might have heard, demands attention. He has a way of getting guys open shots because if you single-cover him, he'll score 40 a night. For Thomas, that means clean looks. Last year, Thomas only managed 1.1 3PA per game when the nearest defender was more than six feet away (Kyrie had 1.5). With the nearest defender 4-6 feet away, Thomas averaged 3.1 per game to Irving's 2.6. The total numbers are about the same, but Thomas actually shot a better percentage on these. 

Imagine, if you will, that instead of Kyrie being ball-dominant and taking a shockingly low number of catch-and-shoots, you get Thomas involved who may be willing to say "Hey, this is LeBron's team. I'm here to enjoy the ride and win." Thomas will get open looks, and when he gets open looks, he makes them.

Thomas is a career 37% three-point shooter who gets to the free throw line constantly. He slashes, he scores, and he carried a team that had no other top-tier offensive players. He joins a team that has two outstanding offensive players and a handful of other good ones.

Much like Kyrie Irving, Thomas is a phenomenal finisher inside. It's mind-blowing when you consider that he's 5'9". Watch this and tell me how he does this.