NBA Basketball: Kyrie Irving and 4 Rookie Guards to Build a Franchise Around
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Led by burgeoning superstar Kyrie Irving, the current NBA rookie class has given the league five promising point guards that teams can plan to build a franchise around.
It's no secret that the 2011 NBA draft class is one of the weaker field of prospects that the league has seen in quite some time. While college stars such as Harrison Barnes, Jared Sullinger and Perry Jones III opted to stay in school with the threat of the impending lockout, the hype of the 2011 draft took a significant hit.
However, the first full month of the NBA season has given us a very promising glimpse of the future. Several rookie point guards are showing the potential to become leaders of their respective franchises.
While this year's crop of rookies may be relatively weak, there's no denying that the future of our sacred league will be in good hands for the next decade or so.
5. Kemba Walker, Charlotte Bobcats
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Former Connecticut star Kemba Walker has been an immediate fan favorite in Charlotte. The 6'0" Bronx native has played with a swagger only a New York City native can.
He has struggled shooting from the field, shooting 38 percent, but he has consistently shown an impressive ability to get to the rim, as well as the free throw line.
As a starter, he is averaging 15.7 points per game and has scored in double-figures six of his last eight games. Though many argue that his ceiling his limited due to his size, he has shown a natural knack for pulling down rebounds in traffic. You can guarantee that his passing numbers will also improve with seasoning.
Kemba Walker is a basketball player. Period. He shows a devotion to his craft that many players just do not have. He has the ability to lead a franchise as soon as you surround him with other talented wings and big men.
4. Brandon Knight, Detroit Pistons
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Brandon Knight is thirsty to become of the greatest point guards in the game of basketball. After becoming another star in a long line of exceptional floor generals to be bred by Kentucky head coach John Calipari, he was ready to take on the responsibilities of becoming a successful NBA point guard.
He has received rave reviews in Detroit so far. He is looked upon as one of the building blocks of the future for the franchise to build around, along with power forward Greg Monroe.
He has excellent size at 6'3", and lacks any big flaws in his developing game. He is currently averaging 12.8 points to go with 3.5 rebounds and 3.3 assists.
In the coming years, don't be surprised to see the Detroit Pistons return to prominence behind the young and talented Sunshine State high school legend.
3. Iman Shumpert, New York Knicks
The New York Knicks are beginning to look like a big winner in the 2011 NBA draft. After drafting 6'5" shooting guard Iman Shumpert, they have recently transitioned him to the point guard position, and he is shining.
He has become a fan favorite with his energy and enthusiastic play, even receiving praise from Knicks star Carmelo Anthony. The explosive athlete has the physical tools to become an All-Star in the NBA, provided New York nurtures its young star.
To date, he is averaging 11.3 points, 3.4 assists and an impressive 2.36 steals per game. His game on the defensive end is going to help aid the Knicks as they continue their long journey back to their old home, the king of the Eastern Conference.
2. Ricky Rubio, Minnesota Timberwolves
The long-awaited arrival of Ricky Rubio has proved to be worth the wait for the Minnesota Timberwolves. Since his days as a teen phenom in Spain, people worldwide were awed by the skinny kid who could pass with a flair that most NBA point guards could not.
While fans cooled on the young talent as he disappeared from our conscience while neglecting to play for the T-Wolves after being drafted in 2009, he is back on the national scene with a vengeance. He is scorching defenses with his God-gifted passing skills, averaging 8.7 assists per game.
He is also starring on the defensive end, stealing 2.6 balls per contest. While NBA personnel and fans alike struggled to compare him to another star of the game due to his slight build, we were taught a valuable lesson.
Ricky Rubio isn't like anyone else. He is on the verge of stardom and ready to put the young Timberwolves on his slight frame.
1. Kyrie Irving, Cleveland Cavaliers
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Kyrie Irving is giving the Cleveland Cavaliers a reason to cheer again. Since LeBron left town, the city has been licking its wounds and searching for a young star to take over the franchise. That star is Kyrie Irving.
His statistics in this shortened NBA season have been impressive. He is averaging 16.8 points per game, along with 4.9 assists and 3.2 rebounds. While he has been a bit of a liability on the defensive end, he is working hard to improve.
He has great size at 6'3", and his ball-handling skills are second-to-none. He gets into the lane whenever he chooses, and he has quintessential court vision.
He will be an NBA All-Star in the near future, it's just a matter of when. You can bet that it will be within the next three years.