We’re around the first quarter mark of the 2012 NBA season, and it’s been difficult to ignore the hype surrounding Kyrie Irving. His stellar play continued Sunday night, as he made a game-winning layup against the Boston Celtics to give the Cavs an 88-87 victory. In all, the rookie tallied 23 points (eight in the fourth quarter), at a robotically efficient rate of 10-14 shooting from the field.
Those are big man numbers. I’m sorry, but point guards – 19-year-olds, no less – aren’t supposed to shoot at such a high rate. For the season, Irving is putting up 17.4 points per contest (in only 29 minutes per game), and he’s doing it to the tune of a .504 field goal percentage (to go along with .404 from three and .812 from the line). If we’re all comfortable with comparing him to a young Chris Paul, CP3 has shot better than .500 from the floor only once in his career. Now, Kyrie is bound to hit a rookie wall sooner or later – it happens to every player. But this NBA transition has been seamless. One of the biggest knocks against him coming out of Duke was the uncertainty factor; no one had a great read on the guy. It’s starting to look like his best will shatter the ceiling scouts granted him.
Now, all we need is a clever nickname. On the spot, the best I can come up with is Crocodile Kyrie, but as Charles Barkley would say, “that’s turrible, Kenny.”