Former Duke Blue Devils freshmen stud Kyrie Irving played 11 games in his college basketball career. He averaged 17.0 points per game and 4.3 assists per game.
Current Cleveland Cavaliers rookie sensation Kyrie Irving is 13 games into his young – and hopefully illustrious – NBA career. He is averaging 17.7 points per game and 5.2 assists per game.
Woah. Kyrie Irving is the real deal. But how foolish am I to be saying that when, like I said earlier, Irving is only 13 games into his professional basketball career. And to think, one year ago Irving still had a cast on his right leg. Those two statistics above, though, aren’t even his most impressive.
Irving is ranked seventh in the league in points per 48 minutes. He averages 30.0 points per 48 minutes. Want to know who’s in front of him? In order, Kobe Bryant, LeBron James, Kevin Durant, Carmello Anthony, Lou Williams and Kevin Love.
Want to know who’s behind Irving? Blake Griffin (14), Antawn Jamison (15), Dwight Howard (23) and Derrick Rose (unlisted because of games missed), whom Irving may be butting heads with tonight.
This time around, however, it’s Rose who may be sitting on the bench resting a sprained left toe. Rose has missed the last two games and has rested the last two days because coach Tom Thibodeau decided to give the whole team some much needed rest.
Rightly earned because the Chicago Bulls have played the most games of any NBA team (16) and boast an NBA-best 13-3 record.
Whether the rookie will be staring down Rose throughout the course of the game tonight or not, Irving is still on a mission.
His mission includes proving himself, at such a young age, that he is amongst the NBA’s elite in regards to the guard position. Irving might be up against arguably the best guard in the game right now. That doesn’t matter though.
Irving’s goal isn’t to go out there and show he can hang with Rose, but it’s to show that he can score and dish out assists against the NBA’s stingiest defense. The Bulls are ranked second in the league in rebounding (45.5) and first in the league in points allowed (85.8). The 1998-99 Atlanta Hawks hold the record for fewest points allowed per game in a season at 83.4.
Even without Rose, Irving is going to have a tough time trying to get to the basket with Carlos Boozer and Joakim Noah standing in his path.
This is a great testing ground for Irving. Is the number one pick good enough to be successful against the NBA’s best defenses?