Kyrie Irving & Isaiah Thomas are more similar than you may think

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In a discussion with Kristine Leahy, Colin Cowherd compares Kyrie Irving to Isaiah Thomas.

- The branding makes you believe. The perception is Kyrie Irving is a remarkable superstar player. You know, Isaiah Thomas is good. But that's not really true.

What was Kyrie Irving before LeBron arrived? I remember interviewing a Cleveland radio host who covered the Cavs. He said, Kyrie Irving's a diva. He's always hurt. And he can't carry us to anything. We got 22 wins and we're in the East.

So last night Isaiah Thomas, the former Celtic, last guy drafted, University of Washington, no national commercials, plays for the Cleveland Cavaliers, makes his debut. He was a really, really good.

You'd think Kyrie Irving, based on branding and perception, is way up here. And Isaiah Thomas, good player. Points, Kyrie Irving averages a bucket more. Field goal percentage, close. Assists, even. Free throw percentage, dead even. Neither one of them plays much defense.

And it should be noted that Kyrie Irving is not in a contract year. Isaiah Thomas is. So Isaiah Thomas has got a lot to play for. He is inspired. He is driven. He wants to prove to the world, Boston gave up on me.

Remember, it's not that Cleveland gave up on Kyrie Irving. They wanted him to stay. Kyrie left on his own. He didn't have a chip on his shoulder. He won a championship. He wanted to leave.

Isaiah Thomas, in a contract year, no national commercials, last pick in the draft, goes to a football school, playing for a contract, and playing to prove, Boston you made a huge mistake. There is a perception out there, and this happens all the time in sports, when I tell you that Isaiah Thomas is 95% Kyrie Irving, that is out--, actually it's completely accurate.

When I tell you that Matt Ryan is a slightly better version than Andy Dalton, they go crazy in Atlanta. Until you line up all the stats and Matt Ryan, who's had better weapons, is a slightly better version than Andy Dalton. It's amazing.

Cam Newton, number, Cam Newton's a star. Big, tall, handsome, national championship Cam Newton. National endorsements Cam Newton. And number one pick guy, Cam Newton's a big star. Dak Prescott goes in the fourth round. The perception is Cam Newton always has people defending him, always has people defending him.

If I criticize Cam Newton the pushback I get is unbelievable. When I support Dak Prescott, a fourth-round pick from Mississippi State, I get heat. So if I criticize Cam, I'm a bad guy. If I support Dak Prescott, which I do, I'm a loon.

Look at the season this year. Actually, Dak Prescott this year was a better quarterback across the board than Cam Newton. Completion percentage, passing yards per game, touchdowns, interception, passer rating, rushing touchdowns even. And you certainly don't get the emotional roller coaster with Dak Prescott.

But you're mad at me if I criticize Cam. And equally mad at me if I defend Dak. That is what branding does.

Just never forget what Kyrie Irving was in Cleveland before LeBron. The records were 21 and 45, 24 and 58, 33 and 49. And the East was horrible. The East was horrible.

The perception that Boston got off, no, Boston had to give up Jae Crowder, who is the only Celtic that can even guard LeBron James. Essentially the Cleveland Cavaliers, in this deal, got 95% of Kyrie Irving, and the one guy Boston had who could truly defend LeBron James.