With the first pick, the Cavs select Kyrie Irving

June 20th, 2011 by John Krolik

And they run to the podium to do it. I love Derrick Williams’ athleticism and production, but he’s a three on defense and a four offensively. Irving’s athleticism and production (in limited games, to be fair) are equally impressive, and he has a definite position. That makes him an easy pick here.

Irving has prototypical size for a point guard, he’s an above-average athlete for the position, and he’s a scoring guard with good point guard instincts. I mean 25.3 points per 40 minutes on 57%/46%/90% shooting? In college, he was a freaking 193 SHOOTER. You don’t pass up a guy with a definite position, real athleticism, and that kind of scoring efficiency, especially considering that the Cavs need someone to build an offensive system around.

Irving can be mentored by Baron Davis for a year to ease his transition (while hopefully picking up none of Davis’ shot selection habits), then step in and be an above-average point guard for the next 5-10 years. Safe pick, easy pick. And remember that fast point guards who can score have been underestimated as draft prospects ever since the hand-check rules came into effect — remember when Marvin Williams went ahead of Deron Williams and Chris Paul because Williams had “superstar potential?”

Brandon Knight and Kemba Walker are nice enough, but neither were nearly as efficient as Irving in college. Kyrie is on another level, and he’s the guy the Cavs should look to build their offense around going forward. He may not have a LeBron-like impact right away, but drafting him will give the Cavs a guy who can run the offense capably and have some big scoring nights. At the risk of sounding like a broken record, this is an easy pick, even if Williams goes off his rookie year and has some huge scoring nights en route to a rookie of the year award. I don’t know if Irving is the better player than Williams overall, but when there’s a relative tie between a point guard and a tweener forward, you take the point guard.