NBA Draft 2011: 7 Predictions for Kyrie Irving's Rookie Season
Ladies and gentlemen, the first pick of the 2011 NBA draft: Kyrie Irving.
With two selections in the top four picks, the Cavaliers used the No. 1 overall pick to select the talented point guard from Duke.
So what's up next for the 6'4" guard?
Let's take a look at what to expect from Kyrie Irving's rookie season in Cleveland.
1. Kyrie Irving, Ramon Sessions and Baron Davis Share Minutes
Kyrie Irving has the makings of a dynamic point guard, but it may be a while before we see him in a starting position.
The Cavaliers are set at point guard with veteran Baron Davis and Ramon Sessions. Granted, neither has the potential Irving brings to Cleveland, but Davis is a savvy, smart ball-handler who will be tough to put on the bench.
Irving may see some time off the ball with Davis/Sessions on the court, but it is more likely he becomes the sixth man in Cleveland.
2. Irving's Big Toe Is a Non-Factor
Irving's toe injury was serious enough to cause him to miss most of the season and even leave Duke early. How will it factor in to his rookie season?
Here is what Irving had to say about his injury:
"'If I had concerns about my foot, I wouldn't have done everything I did at the combine and the workout,' Irving said Wednesday. 'I don't feel like there's any more questions about my toe or my health.'"
Irving is confident, and it would seem the Cavaliers are as well. With a summer of potentially locked-out basketball, Irving will have plenty of time to rehab from the injury.
3. Inexperience Handcuffs Irving Early on
That's all Kyrie Irving contributed during his freshman season at Duke.
No matter how talented the player, Irving enters the NBA as a very raw player. His lack of experience running a sophisticated offense will lead to many minutes on the bench and behind Baron Davis until he has a handle on the offense.
4. Defense a Key for Irving's Rookie Season
One of the best qualities of Irving's game is his perimeter defense. He has the length, quickness and aggressiveness to really become a factor on defense for the Cavs.
What Irving lacks as a pure scorer he makes up for as a defender. The comparisons to Chris Paul are there, but Irving might be a better defender over time.
5. Irving Becomes a Starter Before the All-Star Game
Irving may not begin the 2011-2012 season as a starter, but he will definitely take over a starting job before long.
Once he learns the offense, Irving will supplant Baron Davis as the starter for the Cavs. Irving is a better defender, more explosive in going to the rim and, overall, a quicker athlete on both ends of the court.
Davis will have a role on this team, but this will be Irving's team before the All-Star game.
6. Irving Dominates the Rookie Challenge
A light will come on for Irving before the All-Star game, and that weekend will serve as his coming out party.
Irving will lead the rookie team to a second-straight win over the sophomores, and in the process, he will stake his claim as perhaps the best rookie point guard in the NBA.
Irving versus John Wall will be a must-watch event.
7. Irving Will Win Rookie of the Year
You may hear that Derrick Williams or Brandon Knight are favorites for Rookie of the Year, and they should both be considered very high on any preseason watch list.
As scorers, it will be tough to compete at the level of Williams and Knight, but Irving's play on defense is what separates him from his fellow rookies.
It will take one hell of a second half of the season, but Irving has the skills to become an upper-echelon NBA player by the end of the year.
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