NBA Draft 2011 Scouting Report Profile: Kyrie Irving

Bleacher ReportCorrespondent IIMay 11, 2011

KANSAS CITY, MO - NOVEMBER 23:  Kyrie Irving #1 of the Duke Blue Devils in action during the CBE Classic game against the Kansas State Wildcats on November 23, 2010 at the Sprint Center in Kansas City, Missouri.  (Photo by Jamie Squire/Getty Images)
Jamie Squire/Getty Images

Profile Provided Courtesy of SwishScout.com

Kyrie Irving

Duke University

Freshman

Point Guard

6’2”

175 lbs

St. Patrick High School

Elizabeth, NJ

3/23/1991

Twitter: @RealKyrieIrving

College Highlights

Prep Highlights

 

Long Story Short: Classic point guard with an NBA skill set in terms of athleticism, passing, dribbling and the rare ability to take over a game.  Solid jump shooter and creator who looks like a top three draft prospect, but needs to focus more consistently on being a pass-first type of player where he excels. 

 

Best Case Scenario: Chris Paul 

Worst Case Scenario: Kyle Lowry

 

Does Well:

  • Great quickness and end-to-end speed, pushes the ball in transition, nice vertical and overall athleticism
  • Excellent ball handling fundamentals and control, exceptional quick-strike dribble moves and ability to breakdown defender
  • Nice pull up jumper and ability to create it off the dribble, fundamental shot and much improved three-point consistency (46.2 percent as freshman)
  • Creative and strong finisher at the rim, excellent at penetrating defenses to get to the basket 
  • Lockdown defender who stays with his man, great lateral quickness, picks up steals (1.5 steals per game), great playing passing lanes
  • Court vision is superb and he’s adept at finding the open man, especially on the fast break
  • Excellent basketball IQ and super confident leader, can take over a game with his scoring and passing 

Must Improve:

  • Feels slightly undersized at his 6’2”—if that
  • Can be a streak shooter, needs to continue to extend range out to the NBA
  • Better as a pass-first type PG, but becomes a pure scorer too often 

 

Translation To Next Level:

Irving comes out of the mold of a classic scoring and distributing point guard who can take over games silently with his playmaking abilities on the court.  He is fundamentally sound with supporting quickness, passing and ball-handling skills that make him a force in the back court.  He has nice strength, build and athleticism for an NBA guard, seemingly hanging in the air after contact when he finishes at the rim with a smooth lay-in. 

He doesn’t really do anything that puts you in awe, but he is solid all around by keeping it simple and efficient.  He has a very poised, calm demeanor on the court and during injury on the sideline. He's also a great support and energy for his team.

Irving shows leadership, and has ability to take over game with his feel for it thanks to his great basketball IQ.  He's a very good defender who is aggressive on his man, and is very quick moving laterally.  He's got pretty good instincts in terms of playing passing lanes as well, and will pick up a fair amount of steals in the league doing so.  He dramatically improved his shooting stroke and answered questions about consistency—especially from the three-point range where he shot an outstanding percentage for any player.  

He still has the streak shooter label and tends to get a little up and down with his jumper, but his ball handling is incredible. And he does an amazing job of penetrating to collapse defenses, drawing their attention to either kick out to an open shot or hitting a big man around the basket. He also has the quickness and ball-handling skills at the next level to excel at breaking down his man off the dribble and create his own shot in isolation situations.

Despite playing only eight games during the regular season of his freshman year, it was more than enough to impress and convince NBA scouts to place him in the discussion for the No. 1 overall pick. There’s a lot to be said to about his 31-point performance against Michigan State in early December when he stepped his game up and took it over the down the stretch for Duke, willing them to victory.  Also, despite losing to Arizona in the Sweet 16, he managed to score 28 points and received some unfair criticism for throwing off team chemistry after not playing for a few months.

The bottom line is that he gives his team the best chance to win and will do everything in his power to make it happen.  He is a player you can trust with the ball in his hands down the stretch, and will make the smart play in the process.  He possesses a high basketball IQ, and is a character guy with great leadership at the point position.  

Irving is a rare prospect with the ability to make every single one of his teammates better with his play and decision-making skills. Although there’s not a lot to go off of for evaluation in the NCAA, there’s enough to conclude that Kyrie is a serious talent ready for the NBA right now and that he’s capable of eventually being an All-Star-caliber player down the road. He will be a "franchise changer" who will be an important cornerstone at the PG position for a team in the rebuilding process, and he looks like the popular choice to be the potential No. 1 overall selection. 

 

Final Thoughts:

I saw him at the Nike Hoop Summit in 2010. He didn’t really impress me or make me notice his talents.  Looking back at the box score, he put up 15 points and five assists, which was a solid performance for an All-Star Game, but unnoticeable next to the stars of the night (Enes Kanter, Harrison Barnes and Jared Sullinger). 

He was the Jordan Brand Classic MVP with 22 points and seven assists, and had an outstanding freshman year in limited action. He returned from injury in the NCAA Tournament with a great showing despite an early exit.  He can control a game and change it like Chris Paul, but has his own style and unique approach to the game.  He possesses an underrated basketball IQ that no one talks about, and is a great decision maker.  

Had he played his full season, there's a good chance he could have beaten out Jared Sullinger for National Freshman of the Year and been an All-American.  He's an impact player right now with excellent upside and immediate contributions.  As such, he's a guaranteed top three pick in 2011 with a shot of going first overall.