2011 NBA Draft Results: Kyrie Irving's Pro Projections
The Duke Blue Devils’ track record speaks for itself. Four national titles. Fifteen Final Four appearances. Countless All-Americans. Blah, blah, blah.
Still, you call them goody-goodies. Your friends say they complain too much. Some folks insist they get all the calls. The record books suggest they get most of the wins. If they’re not the most polarizing program in the country, they’re right up there. And with three former Devils being promoted to the NBA last night –No. 1 pick Kyrie Irving, No. 21 Nolan Smith and No. 33 Kyle Singler- that fervor will only continue.
Before Thursday, Coach Mike Krzyzewski had produced 33 NBA players. Of course, haters would add that only four of those chaps (Grant Hill, Christian Laettner, Carlos Boozer and Elton Brand) ever became NBA all-stars. Naysayer or not, that figure does strike as being a tad odd. Maybe injuries to Jay Williams and Bobby Hurley kept them from doing more. Maybe Chris Duhon will turn the corner. Maybe, maybe not. All that’s for sure is that three more will give it a shot.
Understandably, with Mr. Irving, there’s extensive pressure to perform at a high level. The Cleveland Cavaliers averaged 95.4 points (25th in the NBA) and 20.9 assists per game over the 2010-11 campaign. Irving will add to those numbers immediately.
But to become this Chris Paul-like figure many presume he’ll be, Irving will have to hold his own in the paint…and that’s where questions of his fragility will come into play. (Remember: the former Devil missed much of last year with a right toe injury.)
However, from watching the young man play and hearing him speak, you have to be confident he’ll work hard and become the player the city of Cleveland so desperately needs. (Prediction: Three career all-star appearances)
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