Kyrie Irving is the most gifted offensive point guard in the NBA.
His ball-handling skills allow him to get to the rim at will and his ability to shoot from mid-range as well as beyond the arc makes him nearly impossible to guard.
If there is a valid criticism of Irving, is that he possesses zero ability to create offense for his teammates. It is his biggest flaw, and could ultimately make or break the 19-17 Cleveland Cavaliers.
You would think he would have learned from the early-season loss against the Utah Jazz when he finished with 31 points and 0 assists. You would think that after Kevin Love scored 30, 28, 27 and 38 in fourth straight games without LeBron James, Irving would make a concerted effort to get the ball in the hands of his versatile power forward.
Irving resembles Allen Iverson in his approach to put points on the board by taking and making dazzling and difficult shots. Let’s face it he’s good enough to make those but Iverson was playing with Eric Snow, Tyrone Hill and Aaron McKie.
Irving has Love, J. R. Smith, Mike Miller and Tristan Thompson. I’m not saying they’re the Showtime Los Angeles Lakers but they’re not the worst guys to go to war with.
When James and Love joined the Cavs during the off-season I truly wondered if anyone went to Irving and told him this was the year he can become the best all-around point guard.
Sure, Stephen Curry is the best shooter in the league, Chris Paul the best passer, and Russell Westbrook the most dominant but Irving could have been a more talented version of Tony Parker.
Well, I guess I should say can be, but how long will it take?
Irving is averaging 25.9 points and 4.1 assists per game over his last seven games. We get it, James likes to play point forward sometimes so Irving’s assists numbers will fall but James hasn’t touched the court since Dec. 30. Irving is tied for 19th amongst point guards in assists per game this season.
He is ranked 25th overall and let’s keep in mind that there are three players currently averaging more than 10 assists per game.
The Former Duke Blue Devil said he wanted to take on a bigger defensive role back in November and since then with him in the line-up the Cavs are 13-9.
That includes blowout losses to the Atlanta Hawks and the Milwaukee Bucks. Brandon Knight scored 26 points against Irving, while Jeff Teague finished with 23 points, 11 assists and five rebounds in the recent win.
In fairness it’s not all Irving’s fault but he would make it easier on himself if he learned to mix it up a bit more. He’ll be 23 in March under a new coach, and playing with many different line-ups. But in the push for a title run, Irving will need to grow up fast.
It’s a scary stat when your point guard averages more field goal attempts than triple his assists per game.