AUBURN HILLS, Michigan – Cleveland Cavaliers rookie point guard Kyrie Irving may not the second coming of Chris Paul and rookie forward Tristan Thompson is far from the second coming of Moses Malone, but after the Cavalier’s 91-87 victory over the Detroit Pistons Friday night, Cleveland may have the makings of a new one-two punch.
Irving, the top overall pick in the 2011 NBA Draft out of Duke would come off the bench to score 21 points by going 4-of-14 from the field and 13-of-15 from the stripe. Irving would also grab six rebounds, notch three assists and a pair of steals in 26 minutes.
Despite playing eleven games in college, Irving would show flashes of why he was the top overall prospect in college basketball by displaying a deft combination of speed, aggressiveness and a knack for creating his own shot in Detroit.
Thompson, the fourth overall pick out of Texas, would start off slow—like Irving—would finish with eight points, four rebounds and a pair of highlight-worthy blocks.
Irving, born in Melbourne, Australia and Thompson a native of Toronto, Canada may give both Cleveland and the Cavaliers a chance to finally move on from the shadow and fog of the LeBron James era and start a new reign in their own right.
For all of the success that Cleveland had with LeBron, the one thing that they lacked was a true point guard who has the potential to command the floor and run the offense in Irving and an intimidating shot-blocker in Thompson.
In both, Cleveland may have gained two critical elements that James never seemed to have during his time in Cleveland—interior defense and a true floor general.
Irving and Thompson may have a long way to go before they both reach their true potential, but their respective debuts in Detroit on Friday, Thompson and Irving may very become special players in their own right.
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