Ranking the Top 10 Point Guards in the NBA

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8. Kyrie Irving

Jan 4, 2013; Charlotte, NC, USA; Cleveland Cavaliers point guard Kyrie Irving (2) reacts during the second half against the Charlotte Bobcats at Time Warner Cable Arena. Mandatory Credit: Curtis Wilson-USA TODAY Sports

Kyrie Irving is the future. If you don’t think so, you’re wrong.

Irving may have been the player that gained the most from All-Star weekend this year, and if you’re a young player looking to announce yourself to the world, there’s no better place to do it.  The three-point contest that everyone said would go to Steph Curry or Matt Bonner?  Irving won.  The All-Star game on Sunday?  Irving scored 15 points and was the only non-starter on the floor for the East at the end of the game.  Shout out to Erik Spoelstra for doing the right thing on that one.  Oh yeah, he also did this in the Rising Stars Challenge.

Irving is also putting up some pretty impressive numbers in only his second year in the league: 23 points per game, 5.5 assists, 1.5 steals and 42 percent from beyond the arc — seven percent higher than the league average rate.  He’s also 85 percent from the free-throw line.

The only thing you might get picky about here is the assists, as you’d like to see that number creep up a bit into the 7-8-9 range, but Irving is a young player, and he’s always been asked to score, whether it was at St. Patrick’s in New Jersey in high school, at Duke as a freshmen (he led the team with 17.4 PPG), or going into Cleveland and being asked to take charge of a very ugly roster and lead the franchise back to prominence as a rookie.

While Cleveland has some work to do in regards to putting pieces around him that will contribute to the winning effort, they have gone younger (Luke Walton is the oldest player on the team, so if you can remember him playing at Arizona, yes, you’re getting old), meaning Irving has the chance to grow with his teammates.  Hopefully guys like Tyler Zeller, Dion Waiters and Wayne Ellington can develop into contributors that will cause that assist rate to jump up for Irving, and maybe before long we’ll be seeing them in the playoffs.

The one thing that has been a red flag with Irving has been his health, and he seems to have a knack for getting banged up.  Learning how to take care of your body over 82 games is one of the most under-looked aspects of being an NBA player, and Irving is going to have to manage his health effectively, because without him, the Cavs are going nowhere fast.