2011 NBA Draft: Comparing Expert Opinions on Duke's Kyrie Irving

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2011 NBA Draft: Comparing Expert Opinions on Duke's Kyrie Irving
Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images

With the news that Duke guard Kyrie Irving has declared for the NBA draft, the top projected college prospect will face a media storm of praise and criticism over the next few months.

His strengths will be highlighted, but his flaws will also be picked apart until you forget that this kid is supposed to be the first overall player taken in the draft. 

That's what always happens with the top prospects whenever a draft approaches, as teams and the media begin to focus so strongly on the negatives that they start to lose sight of the very reason why the player was so highly regarded.

The good news for Kyrie Irving is that he doesn't have many flaws in his game. 

The 6'2, 180-pound point guard out of West Orange, New Jersey was arguably Duke's most talented player whenever he was on the court last season. 

Although he played in just 11 games due to a toe injury, including three NCAA tournament games, Irving averaged 17.5 points per contest (second on the team), with 4.3 assists, 3.4 rebounds and 1.5 steals.

He dropped 31 points in a 84-79 win over Michigan St. in early December and added 28 points in his final college game, a sweet 16 loss to Arizona. 

Although 11 games makes for a small sample size, Irving did shoot .529 from the field, an eye popping .462 from behind the arc and an elite 90 percent from the free throw line.

Kyrie Irving is probably going to be an elite offensive point guard in the NBA. That is the very reason why the team with the top pick (Draft Lottery Favorites: Cleveland) is likely to make him the first overall selection. 

2011's draft class looks weak. Even NBA executives would agree. ESPN's Chad Ford mentioned the following in a Feburary column: 

"Said a Clippers source after the team sent its first-round pick to Cleveland, 'This just shows you how much we hate this draft.'"

But the 2011 draft is considered weak because of its depth and not necessarily because the projected No. 1 player lacks the abilities to become an NBA superstar.

With that in mind, let's take a look at what some of the NBA experts have already said about Kyrie Irving's game and how they think he projects as a professional. 

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