Found January 29, 2013 on Waiting For Next Year:
What’s next for Kyrie Irving? After Monday put a cap on what was undoubtedly the best week to date in the 20-year old’s still-young career, he and those around him – friends, family, teammates, coaches and fans – are left to wonder what the Cavaliers point guard has in store, serving as an encore to one of the best show’s Cleveland has witnessed in recent years. Through much of his time with the Cavaliers, Irving has earned the moniker of “Mr. Fourth Quarter” – late-game heroics and high scoring totals, the sneaky quick guard morphs, like an angered Bruce Banner, into a different player as the game draws closer to completion. Having seen what Irving can do when called upon, Cavs head coach Byron Scott was forced to have a one-on-one with the reigning Rookie of the Year with the objective of enticing the player to take what he has done in many of fourth quarters and extrapolate that over an entire contest. “Be aggressive and your teammates will follow,” Scott iterated. The result, at least early in this new found experimental aggression, was a week to behold when it came to the playing floor: Forty points in a win over the Boston Celtics, 35 more against Milwaukee, and a game-winning three-pointer during the final second of a win in Toronto that was the perfect marriage of Laissez-faire and lethal. ((He was the fifth player in the history of the league to score 30 points in three consecutive nights)). Off of the court, Irving received the nod for Eastern Conference All-Star, becoming just the seventh player ever to get said recognition before turning 21 years of age 1 . Hours after being notified of his inclusion among the league’s elite, Irving would win the 2012 Professional Athlete of the Year Award as voted by the Greater Cleveland Sports Commission. On Monday, Irving would win the NBA’s Eastern Conference Player of the Week Award, encapsulating all that was accomplished over the last 168 hours. Tallying an NBA-best 35.7 points scored on percentages that would be amazing for any player let alone a point guard – 61.2 percent from the floor, 54.5 percent from three-point range and 95.0 percent from the free throw line – Irving contributed to what is currently the Cavaliers’ first three-game winning streak since March of 2012. A win against Golden State on Tuesday night and the Cavaliers, a team that seemingly could not buy a victory unless the starts were properly aligned, could finish the month of January at .500 (7-7). Naturally, Irving focuses his emotions on the latter part of that equation. “This has been a very good week for our team,” Irving said in reference to his Player of the Week award. “We’re working hard and making progress. While I’m honored to win the award this week, the most exciting thing is our success as a team and continuing our focus to get better every day.” [Related: Young and hungry, Kyrie Irving is Cleveland’s new All-Star] An integral ingredient in said focus will be Irving and his continued efforts at remaining aggressive. Twice in the last week, he has reminded those within earshot that he and his head coach had a talk and that he only has to be told something once before it’s ingrained in his mental cloth. Interestingly enough, Irving is starting to show a cerebral part of his game that was less obvious when he was a quiet, lead-by-example rookie on a team in dire need of direction. Today, we’re seeing a player who knew that he had yet to get a win over the Toronto Raptors – “Hell yeah, it was personal,” Irving said following his late-game heroics. We’re seeing a player who has slowed the game down to Matrix-like speeds, allowing him to further contort his body and utilize in-game choreography that few before him have shown, getting to spots on the floor that allow he and his teammates to maximize their effectiveness. This aggression and understanding is leading to fewer turnovers, increased efficiency and, most importantly, wins. The trick, per usual with a young player, will be to ensure that Irving – who is already playing five more minutes per game than he did a season ago – can sustain such aggressive play over the course of a full game, a full week and a full season. Coupling a lockout-shortened season with a bevy of minor injuries, Irving has played just 85 games in the NBA. Each and every one of them has been an ocular marvel; it will be up to Irving and his coaching staff to ensure that there is some more magical fuel left in his 190-pound tank. In the win over Boston, Irving came out firing with a 15-point first quarter, aided by three-balls, incredible drives and a few trips to the foul line. A 19-point fourth quarter was no different as Irving seemingly glided to the rim at will. So where, exactly, do we go from here? For the Cavaliers, it’s to continue to grow and amass wins as we head into the All-Star break where Irving will have very little downtime. For the fans, continue embracing the displays provided by the second-year guard — he’s reaching must-watch-even-if-DVR’d territory with each additional night, even on Saturday night’s when Toronto is the opponent. For Scott, it will be a matter of keeping this team rolling, whether it is with his rotations or continued implementation of the two new players he has been provided by general manager Chris Grant. And for Irving he has perhaps the biggest to-do list of them all: Stay grounded, stay aggressive, keep working, keep growing, become an even better leader, and — at least in the eyes of his head coach – get voted into the 2013-14 All-Star game. “It’s nice to be voted in as a reserve,” said Scott, “but it doesn’t change my message to him — get voted in.” – (David Liam Kyle/Getty Images) ___________________________________ Magic Johnson, Isaiah Thomas, Shaquille O’Neal, Kevin Garnett, Kobe Bryant and LeBron James are the others – not terrible company to be a part of
THE BACKYARD
BEST OF MAXIM
RELATED ARTICLES

Cleveland’s Kyrie Irving a “future MVP?”

In ESPN’s latest 5-on-5, several scribes tackle the point guard position. Given his recent accolades and award-winning week, it comes as little surprise that Cleveland Cavaliers guard Kyrie Irving is considered to be the consensus player with the most potential. Kevin Arnovitz: It’s safe to say Kyrie Irving has graduated from potential status. That being the case, Damian Lillard...

Kyrie nabs another Eastern honor

CLEVELAND -- Things seem to be coming together for the young Cavaliers and the rest of the NBA is taking notice. On Monday, Cavs point guard Kyrie Irving was named Eastern Conference Player of the Week. Its a well-deserved honor, as Irving averaged a league-high 35.7 points in three games (all victories), and hit the final shot in Saturdays one-point win at Toronto. Irvings shot...

Irving headlines roster for Rising Stars Challenge

Kyrie Irving, the MVP of last year's Rising Stars Challenge, will return to the game featuring top rookies and second-year players. The Cleveland All-Star was one of 18 players chosen Wednesday for the Feb. 15 game in Houston. Charles Barkley and Shaquille O'Neal will again serve as general managers and draft teams during TNT's pregame show Feb. 7. Rookie stars Damian...

Kyrie Irving deserves to be an All-Star starter

The Rajon Rondo ACL injury was a major disappointment on Sunday.  The NBA—especially its postseason—is a markedly better product with Rondo involved. When healthy, his unique skill-set has the ability to change the outcome of not only playoff games but also an entire series on a moment's notice. Something we are certainly well aware of as Cavaliers' fans. ...

Cavaliers to face short-handed Warriors squad

Just when the Golden State Warriors were finally able to put the lineup they wanted on the floor, they'll likely be short-handed again. Meanwhile, the Cleveland Cavaliers will look to ride Kyrie Irving's hot streak to their first four-game winning streak since LeBron James left when they host the Warriors on Tuesday night. Golden State (27-17) got Andrew Bogut back for Monday...

Kyrie as the franchise guy

Youre starting an NBA franchise from scratch and you own the third pick. Who do you take? Heat start LeBron James has been chosen No. 1. That makes sense. Hes a three-time league MVP and the games best player. Thunder forward Kevin Durant goes second. Hes the second-best player, a scoring machine and still only 24 years old. So, who do you take? Cavaliers guard Kyrie Irving,...

While We’re Waiting… He’s the best, around…

While We’re Waiting serves as the early morning gathering of WFNY-esque information for your viewing pleasure. Have something you think we should see? Send it to our tips email at tips@waitingfornextyear.com. “About a month ago, I was chatting with two NBA officials at a Knicks game a few days after Irving had come to New York and put up 41 points in a ludicrous near-comeback...

Cavs let great arrangement go to waste

CLEVELAND -- Everything was set up for a great night. The Cavaliers had won three straight. Golden State was wounded, a team of basketball zombies that was missing three starters with injuries. Plus, the Warriors played the night before, winning at Toronto. Then they had to fly to Cleveland. Honestly, folks, you cant ask for a better situation. Those reasons and more are why the...

Warriors-Cavaliers Preview

Just when the Golden State Warriors were finally able to put the lineup they wanted on the floor, they'll likely be short-handed again. Meanwhile, the Cleveland Cavaliers will look to ride Kyrie Irving's hot streak to their first four-game winning streak since LeBron James left when they host the Warriors on Tuesday night. Golden State (27-17) got Andrew Bogut back for...

NBA Rumors: Cavs and Heat leaders to sign Greg Oden

The Cleveland Cavaliers and the Miami Heat have reportedly emerged as the leaders to land former first-overall pick Greg Oden. Jeff Goodman of CBS Sports says that the seven-foot product out of Ohio State, who has suffered multiple knee injuries since being drafted in 2007, is leaning toward either playing in Miami for the minimum or in Cleveland where he would be able to net considerably...

Box Score: Warriors 108, Cavaliers 95

The Cavaliers came into this game on their first winning streak of the season and things were starting to look up. To make matters even more optimistic for Cleveland, we found out prior to the game that not only would Kyrie Irving (who missed shootaround due to illness) play, but Andrew Bogut, Steph Curry, and Harrison Barnes would all miss this game. That was about the last good...

A Damn Good Week..

    In the post decision era Cavs fans have had to endure a lot of terrible weeks.  Weeks where key players sustain injuries, losses mount, and the growing pains of rebuilding an entire franchise takes its toll.  I could go out on a limb and say this past week was the best in our new “Post-Decision” era and hopefully is the sign of many more to come.   We...

Weekend Recap, Featuring… Everything.

Cavaliers 99, Raptors 98 ***It wasn’t looking good for the Cavs with less than 50 seconds to go.  Kyrie Irving had turned the ball over, missed a layup, and displayed his frustration by putting his hands on his knees and watching as Dion Waiters bricked a long jumper.  Meanwhile, the Raptors exploited a defensive breakdown to take a two-point lead on an Amir Johnson dunk.  Following...
NBA News
Delivered to your inbox
You'll also receive Yardbarker's daily Top 10, featuring the best sports stories from around the web. Customize your newsletter to get articles on your favorite sports and teams. And the best part? It's free!

Today's Best Stuff
For Bloggers

Join the Yardbarker Network for more promotion, traffic, and money.

Company Info
Help
What is Yardbarker?

Yardbarker is the largest network of sports blogs and pro athlete blogs on the web. This site is the hub of the Yardbarker Network, where our editors and algorithms curate the best sports content from our network and beyond.