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Posts Tagged ‘Kyrie Irving

33pt breakdown: Does Kyrie Irving have generational potential?

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English: Kyrie Irving at the 2010 Nike Hoop Su...

English: Kyrie Irving at the 2010 Nike Hoop Summit  (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Remember when Kyrie Irving before the 2011 draft, was being widely labelled a player who “will be a good PG, but doesn’t have superstar or franchise player upside.” Well that didn’t last long. He only had arguably the most impressive rookie season for a player under 20 years old that we’ve seen (PER: 21.4) and has followed that up by taking yet another leap in his sophomore season far. Kyrie Irving is already a superstar and he’s young enough to have plenty of room to develop.

Yet the more I look at Irving’s talent, the more it becomes plausible to me that it’s still being understated. Here’s my breakdown using the 33pt method of grading player talent level:

Physical impact: Before this draft, one of the reasons Irving’s upside had been doubted, was that he’s not an athletic freak like Derrick Rose, Russell Westbrook, and John Wall. While that’s true, he’s not that far behind. He has terrific size and strength for a SG (6’3) and he’s one of the fastest PGs in the league. This combination helps him get into the paint and finish with the best of them. Adding to this is the fact that Irving is a spectacular – and possibly historic – ball-handling talent. If Gus Williams hadn’t already taken the nickname the Wizard, it would apply to Irving. Irving can do whatever he wants with the ball in his hands. This only makes him a more terrific talent attacking the basket, which is the key way PGs physically impose themselves on the game. I wouldn’t give him the perfect grade in physical impact that Rose and Westbrook have (11), but Irving being between an 8 and 10 in the category is reasonable.

Skill: Kyrie is already one of the most skilled PGs in the league. He’s an absolute monster shooting the ball, hitting over 40% of his 3s so far in his short NBA career and over 85% of his FTs – at Duke as a freshman he shot over 46% from 3 from the NCAA 3pt line and 90% from the line. Irving’s height for a PG is a key for releasing the shots over his opponents, to go along with his natural ability. Kyrie is on track to be one of the best shooters in the league for the rest of his career from deep and his midrange shooting game and shot creating, already good, will likely be devastating for most of it. The one area of his skill game that is less than spectacular is his passing, but the PG position has evolved where score first players are valued if not preferred. I’ll give Kyrie a grade of 10 or 11 in natural skill/shooting talent.

Feel for the Game: Kyrie’s feel for the game is absolutely spectacular. He is one of the most natural and smooth players in the game and feels as if he is playing on water. Spatially he is constantly comfortable with where he is on the court compared to the other 9 players and makes the game look easy. Kyrie is a definition of a player with elite feel for the game. I’ll grade him between 9 and 11 in this category for a PG.

Adding it up: Kyrie Irving scores as a monster across the board. He’s elite in physical impact due to his size, speed and ball handling allowing him to be an unstoppable penetrator and finisher. He will likely be the most skilled guard in the league. And his feel for the game should also be among the best in the league. A score like 9 in physical impact, 10 in skill and 10 in feel for the game seems justified. This would give him a score of 29 give or take a few points. This score is not only great but elite. There isn’t 20 players in NBA history I’d have at 29 or over using this grading system. Anthony Davis at the moment has more attention as a possible generational talent, but this indicates Irving is not far behind him, if he is at all.

Who does Irving resemble the most to me? One name sticks out: Jerry West. While that’s a high bar for Irving to get to, I see a lot of similarities. Irving’s size and explosiveness appears to be around West’s level. West was a score first player who passed enough to be his team’s PG, which is how I’d describe Irving as well. West was one of the best shooters of all time and Irving has had a historically incredible start to his career shooting. West was a wizard ballhandling and so was Irving. West had a supreme spatial awareness and feel for the game, which Irving also is special in. Overall, while Irving has parts of his game that differ from Jerry West, I see this as the best comparison. While he still has work to do to reach that ceiling, if Davis can be compared to Kevin Garnett, I believe Kyrie Irving can be compared to Jerry West just as justifiably. I believe Kyrie Irving’s upside is being one of the top 20 players of all time.

Written by jr.

November 14, 2012 at 6:30 pm

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MVP/Power Rankings Monday – The 10 most likely future NBA MVPs (who haven’t won any yet)

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Kevin Durant waiting for the tip-off in OKC vs...

Kevin Durant is a near cinch for future MVP (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

The NBA MVP feels the most important of the 4 major sports’. Since the best player in basketball matters more than the rest, so does the all-time rankings of players – and next to championships, MVPs are the most prestigious award they can get. Furthermore the NBA is unique from the other sports in that only the greatest talents even have a shot at the award, while in the NFL, MLB and NHL a very good but not transcendent talent can win an MVP if he breaks out to a spectacular statistical season. The MVP club is a much more exclusive lounge to join in the NBA.

Here are my rankings of who the most likely future MVPs are, among players who haven’t been awarded with one yet

Tier 1 – The frontrunners

1. SF Kevin Durant – A near lock to eventually get an MVP. He’s finished 2nd twice, is the dominant scorer in the league and is a media favorite due to his class and hard work. Most importantly perhaps is that winning an MVP just about requires finishing top 2 in the conference and Durant’s Thunder have the talent to consistently grab 1st and 2nd place finishes in the West for the rest of his prime. It’s much more likely Durant wins 2 or more MVPs than it is he wins 0.

2. PG Chris Paul – With 2nd and 3rd place finishes he’s proven he has the respect of MVP voters due to his transcendent true PG ability. Like Durant on the Clippers with Blake Griffin beside him he has the talent to lead a team strong enough to win an MVP and if the Clippers ever get that high, the narrative of saving that once tortured franchise will play in his favor.

3. C Dwight Howard – Like Durant and Paul he’s a consensus superstar who has 2nd, 4th and 4th MVP finishes. He’s easily the best at his position and the value of dominant two way centers has been recognized. My only concern with him is that after leading 59 W seasons in both 2008-2009 and 2009-2010, he still only was rewarded with 4th place finishes both years. Even in the year he finished 2nd many argued Derrick Rose didn’t have the same value to his team enough to beat him. Is it possible Dwight’s lack of dominant scoring talent and polish hurts his chances of getting MVP respect? Perhaps, but he deserves to be ranked top 3 at worst. Read the rest of this entry »

NBA Mock Draft Version 2.5 – With pre draft grades and comparisons

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Kyrie Irving

Kyrie Irving looks like the 1st overall pick (Image by Chamber of Fear via Flickr)

This will be my final mock draft unless a game changing trade occurs. The picks are based on what I have heard through the usual suspects on the internet – Chad Ford (ESPN.com), Jonathan Givony (Draftexpress.com), Ryan Feldman (thehoopsreport.com), Ken Berger (CBS.com), Adrian Wojnarowski (Yahoo.com) with a big scoop of my own instincts. Truthfully they did most of the leg work for the actual order. I added grades for each pick and comparisons. Consider that my contribution. Here is the Mock Draft 2.0:

EDIT – Why  not. Here’s the Mock Draft 2.5, edited the morning before the draft with all the latest information. For optimal accuracy.

1. Cleveland Cavaliers – PG Kyrie Irving

There’s been talk lately of Cleveland switching to Derrick Williams #1 to pair him with Brandon Knight, perhaps a better pair together than Irving and a non PG at 4. The problem I see with that is the chance Knight doesn’t make it to #4 with Utah’s interest in him at #3. I say they take Irving.

My Grade: A. The correct choice, Irving is not only one of the best bets for all-star production in the draft, but gives the Cavaliers a badly needed leader for the post Lebron era. No need to overthink it, take Irving.

NBA Comparison: Mark Price

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19 days until the NBA draft: My top 20 prospects/big board

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The NBA Draft is on June 23rd. Here is my ranking of the top 20 players available:

1. Kyrie Irving – Will deservingly go #1. Is perfectly built for the post handcheck NBA with speed/ability to change direction and shiftiness, shooting, and passing ability. What his biggest weakness would be 15 years ago is a lack of physicality but the new rules make that a non issue. He should make all-star teams.

2. Enes Kanter – Impact big men and having legitimate size in the middle matters. I care more about skill level in bigs than raw athleticism and Kanter has that in the post and with shooting range. He has all-star potential as well.

3. Alec Burks – In the NBA you want guards who are athletic and wizards dribbling the ball fluidly. That’s Burks. I believe he’s the biggest sure bet in the draft to score over 16 points a game and is a rookie of the year frontrunner. He has the skillset and NBA athleticism and body to drop 20 points, 5 assists and 4 rebounds in his prime. Read the rest of this entry »

2011 NBA Mock Draft, Version 1

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I’m going to be writing a handful of pieces about the 2011 draft over the next month. My short prognosis of it is its an Ichiro Suziki draft, not a Mark McGuire one: Don’t expect any home runs, but it should be a very nice draft to get a single or double. In other words, no superstars but lots of players fitting in the solid starter to solid bench player category.

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Written by jr.

May 22, 2011 at 5:41 pm

Getting a head start on the draft: Why I have Perry Jones III as the #1 prospect

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Image via Bleacher Report

For half the fans in the league, the upcoming draft is more important than  the upcoming playoffs by this time of year. More than any sport, NBA teams have their fortunes determined by the draft and lottery. The teams that get star players in the draft win, the teams that don’t lose. When your team is bad, it’s the draft that matters.

For the first time since the 2006 draft where Andrea Bargnani went #1 (excuse me while I puke, I’m a Raptors fan) there’s no “surefire star” prospect. Nobody is a cinch prospect like John Wall, Derrick Rose, Blake Griffin and Greg Oden had he stayed healthy were.

Who’s #1? Right now PF Perry Jones III and PG Kyrie Irving seem to have the edge for top 2. A brief scouting report on each: Jones is a 6’11 PF who wants to play like a perimeter player, has freakish athleticism, but is raw and skinny. Irving is a complete PG – He’s fast, has decent size, has great ballhandling and shooting skills, and clearly reads the floor well. Irving is a very good prospect, but I believe Jones III is the top prospect in the draft for these reasons:

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Written by jr.

February 15, 2011 at 8:01 pm