Kyrie Irving hasn’t been nearly the player this season as he was in his breakout 2012-2013 campaign. After averaging 22.5 points, 5.9 assists and shooting .460 from the field last year, Irving is struggling this season and averaging just 19.7 points and sports a .394 shooting percentage, punctuated by a 0-9 scoreless performance in a loss to the Hawks Friday night.
Many around the league are wondering what’s gone wrong with Irving this year, and some executives believe the third-year PG is pouting, per Akron Beacon Journal’s Jason Lloyd:
The whispers have been growing louder around the NBA for weeks and now Friday’s scoreless performance will get everyone’s attention. With each lousy shooting performance, more and more people want to know: What has happened to Kyrie Irving?
Irving’s performance is baffling not only fans and his teammates, but other executives around the league. Players in the locker room have told me on multiple occasions he’s missing shots he never missed before. “He’s pouting,” was the explanation I’ve heard recently from two league executives.
A lot of Irving’s struggles can be attributed to the large amount of tough shots he takes. Irving is a scoring point guard by nature with an incredible ability to create shots with the basketball, and that talent sometimes leads him to take difficult shot attempts. Those shots that fell last year aren’t falling with the same regularity this season.
Irving has had a few big games this season, including 41 points in a win against the Wizards back in November and another 39 with 12 assists in a victory over the Sixers a week prior. A lot of times players struggles shooting are mental more than mechanical, and it seems as if Irving is going through a slump, typical for young players.
The best way for a shooter to get out of a slump is to shoot their way out, but Irving should try to focus on taking easier shots to get himself going. The Cavs need Irving to score more consistently for them to be competitive, and by taking smarter shots in favor of harder shots he should be able to rediscover his scoring touch soon.