Kyrie Irving is making it pretty damn hard for Cleveland fans to complain about anything. The number one overall pick continues to add chapters to a memorable rookie season, this time terrorizing the Detroit Pistons with 17 fourth quarter points that would prove the difference in a 101-100 Cavaliers victory.
In a manner that defines great athletes, Crocodile Kyrie seems to have a knack for playing his best when it matters most. Factor this performance in with a handful of game-winning shots, and his reputation as a clutch performer continues to grow. And yet, with a record of 13-17, the Cavaliers seem destined for another lottery pick. This shouldn’t be considered a bad outcome though, considering making the playoffs likely means a sweep at the hands of the Miami Heat or Chicago Bulls in the first round. The chances of acquiring a Harrison Barnes or Anthony Davis seem much more appealing. Follow the Oklahoma City rout: stay patient, build through the draft, and reap the benefits down the road.
On the other side of the court lies a Detroit squad certain to be a force down the road. Greg Monroe, still incredibly green at the age of 21, looks more and more like one of the NBA’s best young bigs. An old school, back-to-the-basket threat, give him a year and he should be contending for All-Star berths. And Brandon Knight, masked by the efforts of Irving and fellow point guard Ricky Rubio, is turning in an effective rookie campaign, as he proved by tallying 24 efficient points against Kyrie. With good coaching, Monroe and Knigh could morph into one of the best pick-and-roll combinations in basketball.