Originally written on Waiting For Next Year  |  Last updated 11/20/14
Cleveland Cavaliers point guard Kyrie Irving is listed as the Most Overrated Player in the NBA by ESPN.com’s Kevin Pelton in his most recent PER Diem column. Per Pelton, Irving drawing an #NBARank of No. 8 in the league, while conceivable based on potential, is “premature” due to health concerns and a lack of overall accomplishments. The #NBArank panel placed Irving eighth in the league this season, and though Irving undeniably has that kind of talent, putting him in the top 10 is premature because of defense and durability. Last season, the Cavaliers — never a defensive juggernaut under the best of circumstances — allowed 1.7 more points per 100 possessions with Irving on the floor, per NBA.com/Stats. Adjusting for his teammates, xRAPM (a version of adjusted plus-minus) found that Irving gave back two-thirds of his offensive value at the defensive end, making him only a slightly above-average contributor. Of course, Irving doesn’t have any value when he’s on the bench, and he has missed a combined 38 games in his first two NBA seasons — that after being limited to 11 games in his lone college campaign. To justify a top-10 ranking, Irving will have to stay healthy and effective at both ends of the floor. Irving’s ranking among the annual ESPN list was a topic in a recent edition of WFNY’s “The Diff” column. “By the ever-controversial Wins Produced/48, Kyrie Irving was right around average last season” writes Jacob Rosen. “Only a handful of guards are viewed that favorably in general. But even in the context of those, Irving was sandwiched in between DJ Augustin and Jeff Teague, nowhere near the highest echelon. Naturally, there is a bit of a debate regarding the importance or weight of ESPN’s annual #NBARank list. If anything, this edition of PER Diem, when reduced, is a column about a column. Others receiving the ‘overrated’ tag are the New York Knicks (East), Golden State Warriors (West), Doc Rivers (head coach), Andrew Wiggins (draft prospect) and Marco Bellinelli (newcomer). [Related: The Diff: Did #NBARank actually overrate Kyrie Irving?]
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