*Who was the best rookie point guard in NBA history? Think it through because the best comments/responses below will be printed in the next issue of Dime.*
Somewhere along the way Kyrie Irving picked up a few haters. Maybe it’s the Duke pedigree or the too-fast college career or the fact that he doesn’t jump out at anyone the way 2010’s No. 1 pick John Wall did. But either way, as the saying goes: With success comes the haters. You’ve made it once the snakes show. With his college career being so short, Irving had plenty of doubters heading into his rookie season, but so far he’s done what he can to shut them up. Through six games, he’s averaging 14.2 points, 5.3 assists and even 3.7 rebounds… all in under 26 minutes a night. Even more impressively, the Cavs are a rock solid 3-3.
This is nothing out of the ordinary though for rookie point guards. Yes, it’s a difficult position to jump into, but we’ve seen a lot of little guys come through to light up the NBA in their first years.
Bob Cousy was already perhaps the best lead general in the world when he first donned a Boston uniform. Oscar Robertson was dropping 30, 10 and nine each night as a rookie, an even better debut than Illmatic. Allen Iverson took the league by storm, crossed up a living legend and had the gall to say he could go at anyone. Chris Paul revamped a dying city in mourning. Magic Johnson was putting up classic numbers in the NBA Finals (even if he did do that as a center rather than a guard).
Even this year, look at all the competition. Ricky Rubio is playing like Mozart, throwing one-handed bounce passes that would make any woman fall in love. Kemba Walker has already endeared himself to Charlotte fans because of his offensive playmaking. Brandon Knight and Jimmer Fredette shoot the ball like they were put on this Earth to do nothing else.
If it was up to Kyrie Irving, we’re sure the last year and a half would’ve gone differently for him. Injuries not only cut short his college takeover, but they virtually destroyed any chance he had at a National Championship. Then on top of that, he came out, assured the top money would be there, and instead found himself in a lockout that threatened an entire NBA season. There were bumps and bruises along the way, but Irving can be thankful for one thing: In the end, he got to where he wanted to be all along, in the NBA as the top pick in the 2011 Draft.
When it came time to create an issue that celebrated the return of the game, we knew what cat we had to go to. Upon the heels of the ugly lockout, no one represented hope more than the best rookie guard in the league, and no one was affected more by the work stoppage than Irving. It could’ve killed him. Instead, he survived and excelled, and is now ready to take on the world’s best – Chris Paul, Deron Williams, Derrick Rose, Russell Westbrook, Rajon Rondo – on the grandest stage.
Even if he exceeds every expectation this season, the chances of Irving putting together one of the best rookie seasons ever for a point guard are incredibly slim. There’s too much competition. With that, who do you think was the best rookie point guard in NBA history?