Just a little over a year ago, when the Dallas Mavericks traded Spencer Dinwiddie, Dorian Finney-Smith, a 2029 unprotected 1st Round pick and two 2nd round picks to the Brooklyn Nets for enigmatic point guard Kyrie Irving, the initial reaction from analysts around the league was not too kind. At that point in time, despite Kyrie Irving's otherworldly talent and championship experience, his reputation around the league was not all that great. There seemed to be genuine concerns related to his commitment to the game of basketball, his controversial nature, and his willingness to buy into being part of a team.

But with his arrival in Dallas, we are now getting to see a version of Kyrie Irving that most people believed we'd never see: the stable, veteran presence on a championship caliber team. Improbably, Kyrie has become the Yin to the Yang of the Mavericks' “fiery” super-duper-star Luka Doncic. And as a result, the Dallas Mavericks are just two wins away from being the Western Conference representative in the 2024 NBA Finals.

Mavericks coach Jason Kidd has been around the NBA for 30 years now, so he has experience with all different sorts of individuals and team dynamics. So when you listen to him speak so glowingly about Kyrie Irving's impact in Dallas, as he does in the video below with veteran NBA reporter Rachel Nichols, you just know it's legitimate.

Mavericks duo Luka Doncic and Kyrie Irving hugging after Dallas' Game 2 win over Minnesota

Kyrie Irving: The Underappreciated “Robin” 

In that above video, Jason Kidd said of Kyrie Irving, “He's been with other stars. He's comfortable with his game. He's comfortable giving advice.” Depending on how the rest of this Mavericks postseason run goes — and depending on what the next few years of the Luka Doncic-Kyrie Irving partnership looks like — there is a chance, amazingly, that Kyrie Irving could go down as one of the all-time best “Robin's” in league history.

After five breathtaking seasons as a Cleveland Cavalier, Kyrie Irving began to put it all together in the 2016 postseason, giving LeBron James and the Cavaliers all they could ask for out of him on their run to an improbable NBA Championship… the first in the city of Cleveland in 52 years. During that postseason run, Kyrie averaged 25.2 points, 4.7 assists and 1.7 steals over the course of 21 games. Famously, he hit one of the biggest shots in NBA Finals history — an iso dagger over Stephen Curry — in Game 7, and throughout the entire Finals, he was the second-best player in a series that featured Stephen Curry, Klay Thompson and Draymond Green.

Had Kyrie not gotten hurt in the middle of Brooklyn's 2021 NBA Playoff run, we could very well be talking about Kyrie Irving as a two-time NBA champion. But that's not the way it shook out. Now, Kyrie is getting another chance to operate alongside a tremendously qualified “Batman” in Luka Doncic.

So far this postseason, Kyrie is averaging 21.6 points, 4.1 rebounds and 5.4 assists per game, but the numbers don't tell the entire story. What's been most impressive about Kyrie Irving this postseason has been his almost omniscient ability to know exactly what Luka and the Mavericks need. His defense has been far better than I ever believed a 32-year-old Kyrie Irving could offer, and when it's appeared that Luka Doncic was either too worn down or ailing too much because of a bum knee, that's when Kyrie has stepped up his offensive output the most.

Above everything else, Kyrie Irving has never seemed more comfortable in his role, and that's exactly what Dallas needed out of him in order to maximize the partnership between him and Luka Doncic.