The Boston Celtics have "a lot of learning to do" and lack the experience required to contend for NBA championships, according to Kyrie Irving.
The Celtics are 25-17 this season - having been 32-10 at the same stage in the previous campaign - after losing 105-103 to the Orlando Magic on Saturday.
Irving is not happy about where the team is and knows how they can get better.
Asked about why the Celtics are experiencing such ups and downs this term, Irving told reporters: "Experience. It's the best thing I can say is experience. We're lacking it and, because of that, we have a lot of learning to do.
"So we have a lot of ground to make up in that aspect. It gets tough. When it gets hard you've got to think. You've got to do the right things. You can't gamble and think that it's going to be the winning play.
"You've got to be able to play the full 48 minutes, no matter what's going on, and hold your head high when you make mistakes. When your job is called upon, you've got to do it to the best of your ability. You've got to come in and make an impact for the minutes that you're playing out there.
"You've got to appreciate being out there and just competing. It doesn't matter who you're going against. It matters the type of preparation you have, what you're going out and trying to accomplish.
"What's the big picture? What are we doing here? These are things I don't think some of my team-mates have faced just every single day. It's not easy to be great.
"So the things you're doing, that you've done your entire career, of being able to coast by in certain situations, and you've gotten away with your youth and stuff like that. Being on a championship-ball club, you can't get away with that."