Originally written December 27, 2012 on Waiting For Next Year:
As if getting the cover of the latest ESPN The Magazine was not enough, the four-letter network out of Bristol, Connecticut continues to rain praise on Cleveland Cavaliers point guard Kyrie Irving. Within an Insider feature penned by Amin Elhassan, the NBA front office personnel director, we find the opinon that the Cavaliers’ star will be the preeminent point guard in all of the NBA come the year 2015. “I sat down for my first look at Kyrie Irving as a collegiate basketball player. About 10 minutes later, I shut my notebook. ”This kid is clearly wasting his time playing another minute of college ball,” I said to myself. A few games later, he’d get injured and miss most of the remainder of the season. However, in those few appearances, he was one of the most NBA-ready freshmen I had ever seen, particularly at the point guard position. Two years into his pro career, Irving seems destined for greatness. How great? By 2015, he will be the best point guard in the NBA. Elhassan applauds Irving’s patience, praises he recognition skills, and lauds his willingness to lead teammates who are far more experienced than he. Scouting breakdowns of Irving’s ability to dribble (or “handles” as the kids say) put them right up there with future Hall of Fame point guard Chris Paul. Among the items that could hinder Irving are a weak supporting cast that force him to be a score-first point guard instead of a play-making passer; he is forced to conserve energy on the defensive end, leading to low efficiency totals and an unhappy head coach. “The longer Irving has to play savior on offense, the longer it will be acceptable for him to give sub par effort on the defensive end, which slows his overall development toward being the best PG in the league,” writes Elhassan. He later adds that Irving marries the skills of a savvy veteran with the fresh legs of a young player. “Coaches want to coach him and marketers want to pay him — it’s only a matter of time before he becomes the example after which other players will pattern themselves.” [Related: Win in Washington shows young Cavaliers what it takes]
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