Expected to be an up-and-coming contender this season, the Cleveland Cavaliers have instead began the 2013-14 season with 12 losses in 16 games. Following the team's latest defeat, a 103-86 shellacking in Boston on Friday, star guard Kyrie Irving stood up in front of reporters and publicly took responsibility for the team's losing ways.

Via Mary Schmitt Boyer of The Plain Dealer:

"I'm taking full responsibility of all this. I'm the head the snake of all this. I've just got to be better. I've got to do more. I've got to do extra stuff out there on the floor, off the floor, with these guys and and have got to ramp up my level of play. I've just got to be better ... It's starts with me. I've just got to be better and I will be a lot better.''

With the Cavaliers scrambling to figure things out amidst piling losses, it's been easy to point to the team's backcourt -- once the greatest source of hope in Cleveland -- as a key culprit. Between the recent trade rumors concerning second-year guard Dion Waiters and Irving's own struggles on the court, the Cavs simply haven't gotten the production they were anticipating on the perimeter.

Irving in particular hasn't looked himself this season. With many analysts expecting a breakout season for the former No. 1 overall pick, he's instead stumbled to career-worst efficiency numbers almost across the board. While his per-game stats look alright -- 20.8 points, 3.4 rebounds, 5.9 assists per contest -- it's hard to ignore the six percent drop in his true field goal percentage.

After things nearly boiled over for the Cavaliers during a players-only meeting earlier this month, it's clear the team's veteran leadership wants to steady the boat. And while Irving may only be in his third year, he's been on the team as long as practically everyone sans Anderson Varejao. Ultimately, this is Kyrie's team, and he's clearly aware of that.

However, Irving still needs to deliver on the court, something that hasn't happened yet this season. While he's had the occasionally electric game, he's still a maddeningly inconsistent defender who brings most of his value as an elite offensive player. The Cavaliers need more right now, especially on that end of the floor where Kyrie is supposed to shine.