When All-Star point Kyrie Irving met with Cleveland Cavaliers owner Dan Gilbert, his message was clear. He wants to become a franchise player on his own and not play alongside a fellow superstar like LeBron James who holds back his ascension as the No. 1 player of a team. Irving will have a chance to do that with the Boston Celtics, who gave up Isaiah Thomas, Jae Crowder, Ante Zizic, a 2018 first-round pick and a 2020 second-round selection to acquire him.

The biggest question remains - will Irving truly emerge as a franchise player that he aspires to become with the Celtics?

Howard Beck of Bleacher Report interviewed several NBA scouts and executives to weigh in if Irving has the potential to become the No. 1 player that he aspires with the Celtics or will he play second-fiddle again to Gordon Hayward or Al Horford. The Celtics, especially general manager Danny Ainge, are convinced that Irving is the team’s next franchise player. They are so convinced that they gave up their best player last season in Thomas, their defensive specialist Crowder and an unprotected top pick just to get him.

Scouts, executives doubt Irving

A veteran scout said Irving is the best one-on-one player in the league, with the combination of his quickness, strength and uncanny ability to create a shot from almost all angles.

“Probably the best one-on-one player in the league,” the scout said. However, Beck emphasized that based on evidence, Irving is a liability on defense and is indifferent to passing. There is no question that Irving is a scorer, but his other liabilities could hurt the team in the long run. Another long-time scout said he has doubts if Irving has what it takes to become a franchise player with the Celtics.

Beck said the scout’s sentiment was echoed by numerous coaches, executives, and scouts around the league. “I think it’s fairly clear he’s not,” an analytics director of one team declared.

Irving’s playmaking abilities questioned

While Irving is an outstanding scorer and shooter, a scout said Irving is not known for his ball distribution ability and his defense.

Last season, Irving ranked 21st in the league in assists with 5.8 dimes per game. In terms of defense, Irving ranked 28th among starting point guards last season, just ahead of Thomas and his Cavs teammate Derrick Rose. Also, Irving failed to step up in James’ absence during his stint with the Cavs, who went just 4-23 in the last three seasons with James out. However, a Cavs official believes that the 25-year-old Irving has the ability and “gifted enough” to evolve into a franchise player if he chooses to.