Kemba Walker and Kyrie Irving are much different players on the court and people off of it. Irving is often reserved, in his own World (a flat one, we might add), while Walker is always open and willing to listen about how his team can improve.
Wednesday night's loss to the Detroit Pistons was the exact sort of defeat that would've sent Irving's Celtics into a tailspin, or left enough emotional trauma to impact the team when their mental toughness was most needed.
Irving lost as well in Philly on Wednesday, but his comments far differed than the cool-headed, frequently supportive Walker.
Stating the young Celtics were jumping for joy when Irving left for Brooklyn would be an overstatement, but you can see why they'd prefer Walker's style of leadership to that of his predecessor. One takes ownership of the situation, while the other is calling on the front office to add pieces to an already-talented roster.
Walker is perfectly willing to sit back and let his teammates take control of the game, especially if they're hot. Irving, meanwhile, always had to be at the center of the Celtics' offense. He remains the same way in Brooklyn, and the Nets have yet to take many steps forward as a result.
Both point guards are talented, and there's no telling if this iteration of Danny Ainge's imagination played out on a basketball court will end the season in a better spot than Irving left them.
But in the locker room, there's already been a significant mood swing for the better.