Ten Things to Like About…Kyrie Irving

October 21st, 2012 by Kevin Hetrick

Allright, it is time to quit taking Kyrie for granted. With incoming Dion Waiters, Tyler Zeller, CJ Miles and Jon Leuer; intrigue about Tristan spending all summer in the gym plus packing on fifteen pounds of muscle, and even skinny Samardo; not much of the pre-season banter hinged on the reigning-ROY. In this final series installment, it is time to bask in the glory of the man that should be the talk of Cleveland now, and for the next fifteen years. Due to space constraints, the reasons remain as ten:

Starting at Point Guard....KYRIE IRRRRRVIIIIING!

  1. When Lebron left, hazed visibility obscured miles of perceived darkness. Years of basketball-wasteland seemed probable. Then one year later, Cleveland drafted another player poised to ascend to elite NBA player status; maybe the best point guard in the game within five years. Twenty-six-game-losing-streaks replaced by back-to-back-to-back rookie-of-the-month awards suddenly returned hope to a depressed franchise. Do I need to pinch myself? Of 63 NBA point guards that played more than thirty games last year…
  2. He ranked fifth in PER.
  3. Ninth in true shooting, while using the fourth-highest share of his team’s possessions.  In related news; sixth for three point percentage, with the eighth smallest ratio that were assisted.
  4. 15th per minute, for assists resulting in a bucket at the rim.
  5. Tenth in rebounding rate. Oh yeah, and he did not play a game after his 20th birthday. What is the definition of prodigy?
  6. Kyrie’s rookie year PER of 21.4 exceeded all other recent one-and-done players, like Kevin Durant (15.8), Derrick Rose (16.0), Kevin Love (18.3), Tyreke Evans (18.2), John Wall (15.8) and Eric Gordon (14.9).
  7. Technically Irving’s first season bested the PER of each of that list’s second NBA campaign. Chris Paul’s rookie season narrowly featured a higher rating (22.1), although his performance came at age 20. With only marginal improvement, Kyrie’s age twenty season will surpass CP3’s early career arc.
  8. Oh yeah, the 56 points scored for every 48 minutes of crunch time warrant mention. Best in the NBA last year. Did I mention he was 19?
  9. Obviously, he is a highlight machine. This video features his his top ten, but you could spend an hour watching Kyrie’s best.
  10. Finally, the Uncle Drew thing. That is really funny.
Basically, the ceiling is off.  For his age, the “Pro Basketball Prospectus 2012 – 2013″ lists most similar players of Stephon Marbury, Gilbert Arenas, Russell Westbrook, and Kobe Bryant. Low side of that spectrum includes two all-NBA teams; high end is a top-ten all-time player.  It will be a joy to see how Mr. Irving’s career progresses (but please work on your defense, Kyrie).
(Note: As this series concludes, I again wish to extend appreciation to the following websites for maintaining amazing free data resources: 82games.com, basketball-reference.com, basketballvalue.com, draftexpress.com, espn.com, hoopdata.com, nba.com, and statsheet.com.)