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Kyrie Irving, despite having a college career that spanned a mere 11 games thanks to a toe injury, managed to impress enough scouts and coaches to place him in the first slot of almost every mock draft out there.
Without a doubt, one of Kyrie Irving’s high points is his ability to shoot the ball. He has managed to average 17.5 points while shooting an amazing 52.9 percent. Irving is nearly as good from behind the arc, where he drains the ball 46.2 percent of the time, and to top it all off he is a 90.1 percent free throw shooter.
Kyrie Irving is more than a shooter; he’s the type of player that makes his entire team play better, and the 4.3 assists he averaged a game don’t do that statement justice.
The Duke Blue Devils benefit from the tutelage of Coach K and seem to manifest as an offensive power house year in and year out, but this past year, the team and the individual players lost a degree of lethality when they lost Kyrie Irving.
Irving is very young—only 19—and yet he played with the poise and maturity that is expected of superstar seniors, but a rare treat in freshman.
He doesn’t have the stunning athleticism of Chris Paul or even Kemba Walker, but neither does he have Walker’s penchant for out-of-control drives. Irving relies on finesse, grace, and a subtlety of motion that sets him apart from the first-step blow-bys that seem to mark the top guard prospects in every year’s draft.
A style of play that relies on wisdom and finesse also tends to result in longevity and be less hampered by injury, which is just one more reason Irving is a safe pick.
Kyrie Irving has shown that he is an unselfish player, although some might argue that is not necessarily a quality you’d want in abundance from someone who might well be the first overall pick in the draft (a la the recent criticism of LeBron James). Regardless, selflessness bodes much better for a team’s chemistry on and off the court than selfishness, and we all know that problems in the locker room lead to problems on the court—just ask Shaq and Kobe.
In addition, Irving doesn’t have any glaring flaws in his game. He’s a smart, solid player, and there’s not a single aspect of his game that needs to be improved in order to reach NBA caliber. He’s already there.
Right out of the gates Irving will be good, and at the end of his career he’ll probably still be good, but never great.