In his second season with the Cleveland Cavaliers, what should fans expect from Kyrie Irving?
After angrily watching a former Cavalier superstar leave the team for a city on a beach somewhere down south two seasons ago, Cleveland fans have been hungering for another star to get behind. Many are hoping that Irving is ready to take over the role.
The 2011 No. 1 draft pick out of Duke, Irving looked the part last year as he had a great first season and won the rookie of the year award.
The rookie averaged an impressive 18.5 points per game, with 5.4 assists and 3.7 rebounds. He shot 47% from the field and 40 percent from the three-point line, and appeared to do all of the little things the Cavs need from their star players.
Irving drove to the rim late in games to get fouls or buckets, and he hit plenty of big shots and a few game-winners during the season. He also said all the right things in his interviews and is a very likeable young player.
To put it simply, he had just about the best rookie season Cavs fans could have hoped for.
To top it all off, he also played on the select team that practiced against the U.S. Olympic team this summer, and he drew rave reviews for his play from the Olympic coaches and players.
Irving said that playing against the NBA superstars on that team was a great learning experience and confidence booster for him, and he is already a strong candidate for the 2016 Olympic team.
The biggest worry about Irving now appears to be if he can stay healthy. After missing a large chunk of his one season at Duke with an injury, the point guard played most of his first NBA season, although he did miss 14 games due to injuries. To add to the worries, he then broke his hand at the start of the NBA’s summer league after hitting a wall.
The other main concern for any second year player is that other NBA teams will now know more about his tendencies, and they will try to take him out of his comfort zone and reduce his effectiveness.
Despite all of this, Cavs fans should expect another big year from Irving due to several reasons, including:
- As a second-year player, Irving knows more about the NBA game, and that should help him. He knows how to pace himself for the season and he knows a lot more about what to expect this season.
- His injuries are not related and hopefully are more just a product of bad luck than anything else.
- The teams has more talent around him. Draft picks Dion Waiters and Tyler Zeller should help, Tristan Thompson is poised to have a solid second season, and newcomers such as CJ Miles and Jeremy Pargo should mix in well with the holdovers from last season. And if Anderson Varejao can stay healthy, Irving will have a much better roster of players around him.
- Coming into his second year, Irving has had time to improve and simply should be a better all-around player. The Olympic experience helped him, and he just needs time to continue to get older, stronger and better.
- He can be more of a leader this year. While the Cavs weren’t great last year (to put it mildly), the team did have plenty of veterans that Irving had to defer to at times. The team still has a few veterans this season, but overall the roster is relatively young. Irving has earned the respect of his teammates and should be ready to take over.
Cavs fans have a lot to look forward to with their star point guard this year. He has a great chance to win a spot on the All-Star team and lead the team to plenty of wins. And in the coming years, Cavs fans should plan on Irving leading the Wine and Gold to several playoff appearances, and maybe even that elusive title that past Cavs stars could not deliver.