Cleveland Cavaliers’ point guard Kyrie Irving has had a fine NBA career, even winning MVP of the 2014 All-Star Game. However, because of injuries and a lack of proper talent around him, Irving hasn’t had the success, either individually and especially team-wise, he expected.
That’s why Irving reportedly may have played a part in recruiting LeBron James. Irving was selected with the number one overall pick in the 2011 NBA Draft, the year after James left the Cavaliers for the Miami Heat. The Cavaliers have since added to number four-overall picks, big man Tristan Thompson (who was selected just after Irving in 2011) and guard Dion Waiters (2012) as well as two number one overall picks in forward Anthony Bennett (2013) and swingman Andrew Wiggins (2014). With a talent influx, Irving knew getting James could turn the Cavaliers into legitimate title contenders and also could help Irving take his game to the next level.
Nate Duncan of Basketball Insiders expects Irving to take a big leap forward.
I expect him to take a pretty big leap forward in efficiency and play better defense. The history has been that when true superstars come to teams, like Boston in 07/08, they really help the young guys pick it up a lot, especially when those guys already have a lot of talent. We should see Kyrie become a more efficient, well-rounded player this year.
Irving put up 20.8 points, 6.1 assists, 3. rebounds and 1.5 steals per game while shooting 43.0% from the field, 35.8% from beyond the arc and 86.1% from the free throw line. James averaged 27.1 points, 6.9 rebounds, 6.4 assists and 1.6 steals per game while shooting 56.7% from the field, 37.9% from three and 75.0% from the charity stripe this season.