Kyrie Irving exceeded expectations this season. People thought the number one overall pick out of Duke would be good this year, heading into this Lockout shortened season, but not this good. In only his first season he cemented his name amongst the list of the league’s best point guards. Chris Paul, Derrick Rose, Russell Westbrook, Rajon Rando, Deron Williams, Kyrie Irving; top-6 in the game, no particular order. Some may even argue that Kyrie Irving is in the top-3.
He played only 11 games at Duke last season, prior to becoming a member of the Cavaliers, and he turned 20 in Cleveland just a couple months ago. He could have been an All Star this past season though, and he will be one for 10 years starting in year two of his career.
One month after this past All Star break, Irving also had the injury depleted Cavs somehow in contention for the playoffs still too. Before Cleveland graciously and spectacularly tanked during the last quarter of the season, Cleveland was only one game behind New York for that eighth playoff spot, with Milwaukee lurking. The only reason why they were that close then was Kyrie Irving.
He averaged 18 points, 5 rebounds and 4 assists per game this season, with a PER at 21.49. He hit five game-winning baskets this season too, including a monster shot to beat the Boston Celtics earlier this year in Boston. According to the AP, Cleveland Plain Dealer and ESPN.com, Irving will be named the NBA’s Rookie of the Year for all that too in a development that is surprising to specifically nobody. This in addition to being named Rookie of the Month three times and winning the Rookie/Sophomore Challenge MVP Award already this season.
He also would have won Rookie of the Year if Ricky Rubio had stayed healthy too, just so we are all clear on that.
He obviously won it running away though only after Rubio’s unfortunate and sad injury. Irving, Rubio and Isaiah Thomas were the three rookies who impressed me the most this season personally however. It will be interesting to see how the voting shakes out once the Rookie of the Year Award becomes official.
Kenneth Faried, Derrick Williams and Brandon Knight will also get a few votes themselves too I think, but it will shake out with Irving on top just as soon as he gets back from vacation. Iriving is in the Bahamas right now, which is why they have not announced this award yet, I think. Well deserved vacation though.