Just a few days ago, 20-year-old Kyrie Irving became only the seventh player in NBA history to be voted to an NBA All-Star Game before the age of 21. The exclusive list also includes Kobe Bryant, LeBron James, Magic Johnson, Kevin Garnett, Isiah Thomas and Shaquille O'Neal.
Needless to say, this is some pretty outstanding company for the young point guard who is in his second NBA season.
It is not the first time that Irving has impressed NBA fans though. Last season Kyrie won Rookie of the Year, was named to the NBA All-Rookie Team and took home MVP honors in the Rising Stars Challenge at NBA All-Star Weekend.
Kyrie Irving was a star ever since he took the court for his first NBA game last fall, but this season, especially this past month, Irving has taken his game to the next level.
He is averaging 24 points per game and 5.6 assists per game for the Cavaliers, but the time that Irving shines the brightest is when the city of Cleveland is counting on him in the fourth quarter. Saturday night's game in Toronto was just another example of how Irving's veins turn to ice water in the late stages of games.
With the Toronto defense expecting Irving to drive the lane and attempt a game-tying layup in the waning seconds Saturday night, he was given a little bit of extra space at the three-point line. Toronto soon found out that it was too much extra space, as Kyrie pulled up and buried a three with 0.7 seconds left to give the Cavaliers a 99-98 victory on the road. It was the fifth game-winner for Kyrie in his young career.
Irving is exceptional with the game on the line, but make no mistake, he plays at the top of his game whenever he steps foot on the court. On Tuesday against Boston, Kyrie scored 17 points in the first quarter against the Celtics, en route to a 40-point performance.
During the month of January, Irving has eclipsed the 30-point mark in seven of the Cavaliers 13 games. He has also shot at least 50 percent in five of those games, and had two games in which he shot over 70 percent from the floor, going 11-for-15 against the Hawks and going 12-for-17 against the Bucks.
Irving is also a prolific free-throw shooter. He is shooting 92.5 percent for the month of January and 85 percent for the season.
When the All-Star Game tips off in Houston on February 17, Rajon Rondo will be starting at point guard for the Eastern Conference, while Kyrie Irving waits in the wings on the bench. Rondo fully deserves the starting spot this season, mainly because of all the time Kyrie has missed due to injuries, but I also believe that Rondo should enjoy his time as a starter.
Kyrie Irving has made it clear that he is going to be the next great superstar in this league.
There are many great point guards in the NBA, but in a few years, none of them are going to be quite as good as the kid in Cleveland.