Brian Spurlock-USA TODAY Sports
The most fascinating thing about Kyrie Irving is not the poise that he plays with, nor his shooting ability, it’s the fact that of all of the league’s more renowned youngsters, he has a dearth of post-high school playing experience.
Entering play on Jan. 13, Irving ranks sixth in the league with 23.3 points per game. Though he only averages 5.7 assists per game as a starting point guard, it’s understandably difficult to amass dimes with a shortage of talent surrounding you on the floor.
Last July, Irving was one of the standout players in Team USA’s select camp in Las Vegas. Anyone who sees Irving play is enamored with his potential and knows that, if healthy, he is to be very special.
After graduating from St. Patrick High School in Elizabeth, N.J., Irving committed to Duke University.
A ligament tear in his big toe limited Irving to just eight starts in his college career, and he played just 11 total games.
Though the sample was so small, Irving was the consensus first overall pick in the 2011 NBA draft and was selected by the Cleveland Cavaliers. As luck would have it, the ensuing NBA lockout pretty much wiped out training camps for the NBA’s rookies.
Even still, Irving won the NBA's 2012 Rookie of the Year Award by turning in solid averages of 18.5 points per game and 5.4 assists per game.
The bottom line with Irving is that he’s really not that far removed from playing in high-school gymnasiums in New Jersey. He’s still learning the NBA game and still learning how to be a pro.
Despite that, he’s easily one of the game’s brightest stars and showed that when he competed amongst the likes of Kobe Bryant and Stephen Curry last summer.
He may not have the wins of Damian Lillard or the ability to play the passing lanes like Paul George, but he sure has my eye, and he earned the top spot here with the 41-point performance he put on at Madison Square Garden back on Dec. 16.
Of all of the youngsters in the NBA looking to rise to the level of superstardom, Irving seems the most promising.