2011 NBA Mock Draft: Could Kyrie Irving Replace LeBron James in Cleveland?
The 2011 NBA Draft will feature many very talented freshman in its class. And although he didn't play as many games as the others, Kyrie Irving of Duke could very well be the No. 1 overall pick in the draft and groomed as a replacement for LeBron James to lead the Cleveland Cavaliers.
Cleveland needs a superstar to build around, and while Irving is not the same type of player that James is, he could be something for Cavs fans that James is not.
That would be wearing a Cleveland uniform in the present.
Irving did not play a full college season, but he was considered as the top overall pick before he went down with a big toe injury. He played just eight games prior to that, and came back in the 2011 NCAA Tournament and did not change anyone's mind. He is still ranked as the top overall prospect by many scouts.
The Cavaliers are in need of a complete overhaul, and where guard play is so important in the NBA today, Irving would be a great way to start building toward the future.
And by future, I mean as soon as they can win the season series against James and the Miami Heat. That would be good enough for Cleveland, at least for the time being.
Chad Ford of ESPN said that "Irving's 31.7 PER ranking would put him in the top 5 of all college players. Only two draft prospects -- [Derrick] Williams and Kenneth Faried -- were more efficient this year. He plays a critical position that several lottery teams (see Cleveland, Sacramento and Minnesota) desperately need. If everything clicks in workouts and physicals, he has a very strong case for the No. 1 pick."
You could not go wrong in selecting Irving. He certainly has the skills necessary to run an offense at the next level, and he will continue to improve with more minutes. In one season at Duke where he played only a handful of games, he showed why he should be in consideration for the No. 1 pick. That is awfully impressive.
Irving has not yet declared himself eligible for the 2011 NBA Draft. But it is something that everyone feels has been a foregone conclusion for a very long time. If he does in fact come out after one season at Duke, there is no reason to believe that he will not go within the first two or three picks.
If he doesn't go first overall.
For more on the draft and some possible first round selections, make sure to check out Bleacher Report Cavaliers Featured Columnist Jesse Dorsey, who previews the NBA Draft 2011: Has Jimmer Fredette Worked His Way Into the Top 10?
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