There are six “must watch” players in the NBA right now: Carmelo Anthony, Chris Paul, Derrick Rose (pre-injury, at least), LeBron James, Kevin Durant and Kobe Bryant; seven because James Harden is on the border and eight pending Dwyane Wade continues this current hot streak he’s on. If he isn’t already, Kyrie Irving should find his name on said list “expeditiously,” as the great Mr. Joe Clark once said.
Sure, Cleveland is in the basement as far as team standings go because aside from Irving, they truly are a discombobulated unit at this point. And sure, they’re hardly ever on national TV (if ever) because they’re still reeling from what went down way back when. But someone around here dubbed the Cavs as “the most entertaining bad team” in the league, and that person was exactly right. And it’s 150% due to Kyrie. At the age of 20, he’s one of seven players in league history to become an All-Star before turning old enough to drink. The other six? Only first-ballot Hall of Famers (and sure-fire ones) named Isaiah Thomas, Kevin Garnett, Shaquille O’Neal, Kobe, Magic Johnson and LeBron.
I can’t sing enough praises about him, especially because there were reservations about how “good” he could be given the extremely small sample size his one year at Duke afforded. He won me over last year and this year I’m a card carrying member of the fan club. Last night, down 20 to a Bucks team on the brink of the playoffs pending Monta Ellis and Brandon Jennings don’t start clashing between now and April, Kyrie led the charge in what became a 113-108 win for the Cavs. Combine his 35 points and five rebounds against Milwaukee along with the haymaker he landed on Boston Tuesday night, and Kyrie’s last two games look something like this:
— 37.5 points, 4 rebounds and 3.5 assists
— 1.000% FG (he actually hasn’t missed a free throw in 11 days)
— 68% FG
— This was his sixth 30-point game of the month, second to Kevin Durant
The assists could be higher, but consider that the penalty of being the best player on a Cavs team requiring him to “be aggressive.” That and Cleveland ranks 28th in field goal percentage. The more time-sensitive moral of the story is this.
Kyrie Irving deservedly made the All-Star team. Kyrie Irving should be the point guard on the floor in the fourth quarter paired alongside LeBron, D-Wade, Melo and, hell why not, Paul George because they’d all resemble the Jamaican Olympic 4×100 relay team running the fast break. Securing rebounds would be a tad more difficult, in which case a big could be brought off the bench, but that’s beside the point. Kyrie is the point.
Kyrie Irving is also the truth. The whole truth. So help me God.
Previously: “Silent Assassin…”