This is all we know about Kyrie Irving, the Cleveland Cavaliers rookie point guard and 2011 #1 overall draft pick.
In 11 games at Duke, under the leadership of Mike Krzyzewski, Irving averaged 17 points, 4 assists, and 3 rebounds on 53% field goal, 46% three point, and 90% free throw shooting.
From this tiny sample size, we have come to the conclusion that Irving is good with the ball in open space, finishes well around the rim, defends his position at the NBA level, and is the best player in his draft class.
It is also the consensus belief that Irving does not belong in the same conversation as ‘Rose’ or ‘Wall’. Although that might not be fair to him, it’s true- he will always be compared to his fellow #1 overall picks.
So what, exactly, are the Cleveland Cavaliers doing with Kyrie?
Do they think he’s the future of the franchise? Do they think he’s an All Star? A long term starter? A valuable trade asset? Do they think he could be Andre Miller with a more polished offensive game? Deron Williams with a less polished offensive game? Tony Parker 1.5? Do they see him with the franchise in five years? Ten years?
We all know the story of the Cavs. LeBron James was the king, bounced for South Beach, and crippled a fan base that is as passionate and loyal as any in sports. Dan Gilbert went crazy and publicly likened James as a supervillain. The Cavs lost 19 in a row at one point during the season. The ping pong balls bounced favorably. Meet Kyrie Irving. In a city that loves basketball like Cleveland does, Irving will get a chance to win over the hometown fans with his play.
The Cavaliers also drafted former Texas Longhorn forward/center Tristan Thompson. He has good hands, a strong upper body, and long arms (just ask Jay Bilas). Together, Irving and Thompson could become a pretty good tandem. It will take that, and an NBA championship, to make Cavs fans forget about LeBron.
The rest of the Cavs roster includes Antawn Jamison, Anderson Varejao, Ramon Sesions, Anthony Parker, Samardo Samuels, Christian Eyenga, and Mychel Thompson.
If the team hopes to compete in the Eastern Conference, it will be behind the play of Kyrie Irving.