Kyrie: Cavs “definitely” would have won Finals if healthy

by Will Gibson

Until the Cavs get another crack at the NBA Finals, players and fans alike are left to wonder what if about this year’s edition.

In an appearance on Shaquille O’Neal’s The Big Podcast with Shaq (which came WFNY’s way via SLAM), point guard Kyrie Irving was asked about the playoffs, his injury, his teammates, and what he’s learned playing with LeBron James, among other things.

Shaq specifically asked Irving if he had talked to Kevin Love about Love’s possibly re-signing with the team; Irving said that he had.

“I’m more or less the voice of reason. I’m always gonna be a straight shooter with everyone and give them my honest opinion,” Irving said.

Kyrie then went a step further, saying what a great many Cavs fans think themselves.

“Obviously, we had a great thing in Cleveland [this season]. We dealt with everything together. I felt like we would have definitely won an NBA championship if we had everyone healthy. But almost doesn’t count.”

It’s a solid little interview — better than I would have expected from Shaq, who I’m not a fan of on TNT’s Inside the NBA — and worth a listen. Shaq is well-liked among NBA players, and that comes through in his conversation with Irving. Some of what they cover is trivial, like a semi-joking segment about where Kyrie would rank himself among current players if LeBron is No. 1, but there is some real discussion about what it’s like to recover from injury, especially in the playoffs.

Some other tidbits:

  • Kyrie: “Every single home game was sold out. It was nothing like my last three years. Getting that feeling is what you want to be a part of…It’s something you dream of.”
  • Kyrie: “There’s nothing — nothing — like being in the playoffs.”
  • Irving said that he is not close to going back to school to get his degree, which he reportedly promised his father that he would.
  • Shaq asked Kyrie who he thinks has the best handle in the NBA. Irving’s answer? “I think I do”

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