Kyrie Irving's 8 Most Pivotal Point Guard Matchups

Patrick ForteCorrespondent IFebruary 16, 2012

Kyrie Irving's 8 Most Pivotal Point Guard Matchups

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    The All-Star break is almost upon us, and one leading headline of the season thus far has been the play of Cleveland Cavaliers point guard Kyrie Irving. Even as the number one pick in the 2011 NBA Draft, Irving has exceeded all expectations and is the current front runner to be the NBA's Rookie of the Year.

    However, to prove his worth as one the best in the league and not just the best rookie, he will have to play well against the other elite point guards in the NBA.

    Luckily for Irving, he has plenty of chances to do that the rest of this season.  

Rajon Rondo, Boston Celtics (Feb. 28)

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    Two of Irving's best NBA games in his young career have come against the Boston Celtics, including a game in Boston where he hit the game-winning layup to beat the Celtics.  

    However, Rajon Rondo did not play in either one of these games as he was nursing a wrist injury. It will be interesting to see what kind of a game Irving has when the Celtics superstar point guard is playing top-notch defense on him.

    Irving will only have one opportunity to play against Rondo this year, and should look to make the best of that one chance.  

Derrick Rose, Chicago Bulls (Mar. 2, Apr. 26)

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    Kyrie Irving has yet to play reigning MVP Derrick Rose either. The Cavaliers actually suffered their worst home loss in the history of the franchise the last time they played the Bulls. Irving and the Cavaliers will definitely want to redeem themselves, only that will be much harder with Rose in the backcourt.

    With that said, if Irving wants to be the best, he has to beat the best—in this case Derrick Rose and the Bulls.  

John Wall, Washington Wizards (Mar. 3, Apr. 14, Apr. 25)

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    Before he was drafted, everyone said the Kyrie Irving would never be as good as Derrick Rose or John Wall, due to their superior athleticism. Irving can prove his early doubters wrong in this matchup against Wall, who has had a disappointing sophomore season.

    These two are future stars at the point guard position in the Eastern Conference, and it would behoove Irving to play well in this matchup against a young counterpart.

Russell Westbrook, Oklahoma City Thunder (Mar. 9)

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    Everyone knows that Russell Westbrook is a superstar, and is an incredible scorer. Some think that he shoots the ball too much and needs to mesh better with Kevin Durant.

    However, few people seem to mention how great a defender Westbrook is. Westbrook averages two steals a game and is excellent at defending the best in the game.

    Irving will have a very tough matchup against Westbrook.  

Kyle Lowry, Houston Rockets (Mar. 11)

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    Kyle Lowry received some All-Star buzz this year, ultimately not being named to the Western Conference team. He is probably the main reason that the Houston Rockets are in the playoff picture in the stacked West.

    While his offensive numbers have been very impressive this year, Lowry is best known as being a lock-down defender. Irving not only has to prove himself against the stars, but the players at his position that will defend him best. Lowry qualifies.  

Jose Calderon, Toronto Raptors (Mar. 13, Apr. 6)

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    Arguably, Kyrie Irving's two worst games as a pro both came at the hands of Jose Calderon and the Toronto Raptors. In those two games he shot a combined 5-of-25 and scored only 18 points.

    However, those games were early in the season, and Irving will have two more chances to prove himself against the Raptors and their pass-happy point guard Calderon.  

Brandon Jennings, Milwaukee Bucks (Mar. 14, Mar. 30, Apr. 4)

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    Irving has yet to play Brandon Jennings and the Milwaukee Bucks this year. Both Irving and Jennings were borderline All-Stars this year, as they have led their teams to surprisingly good records.

    These games could be a battle for the second-best point guard in the Central Division, with Derrick Rose of the Bulls being the obvious number one.

    Irving and Jennings are both very young and have plenty of time to improve. These games could also have added weight as they could play into the race to make the playoffs.  

Deron Williams, New Jersey Nets (Mar. 19, Apr. 8)

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    Kyrie's play against Deron Williams and the Nets has been inconsistent. He scored only 13 points in their first matchup in a victory, but then torched the Nets for 32 points in a Cavaliers loss.

    Irving has two more opportunities to show what he's got against one of the top point guards in the NBA. If he can outplay Williams, it would be hard to argue Irving isn't a clear star in the making.