ESPN.com: Kyrie Irving Having Better Rookie Season Than LeBron James?

ESPN.com’s Justin Havens has a fascinating article posted in which he uses several statistical measures to show that Cleveland Cavaliers rookie Kyrie Irving is having a better rookie season than Chris Paul or LeBron James had.

The whole article is pretty fascinating, but Havens especially points out what Kyrie Irving might ultimately mean to the Cavaliers organization:

Previous to Irving, the last time the Cavaliers had the first pick in the NBA Draft, they took LeBron James, and we all know how that turned out.

The good news for Cleveland fans is that Irving’s performance as a rookie is on pace to best what James did his first year in Cleveland, outdistancing James in scoring and assists per 36 minutes, as well as Player Efficiency Rating and Win Shares per 48 minutes.

In fact, his current 21.8 PER would place him 11th on the all-time Cavaliers list, not just among rookies, among players with at least 2,000 minutes played.

When you limit it to non-LeBron James seasons, Irving would jump to fifth, trailing only the best seasons for Brad Daugherty, Terrell Brandon and Mark Price.

Obviously the season is still very young and Irving could end up getting hurt or seeing his performance fall back to rookie levels. And truth be told, comparing a rookie in a 66 game schedule to a rookie in an 82 game schedule is never a fair comparison to make.

But still, the numbers are what they are. Through 13 games this year Kyrie Irving has played like a superstar, and he’s only a rookie. The kid is going to get better and the Cavaliers have to feel awfully good about where they sit with Irving today.

[Related: Elias: Kyrie Irving Enters Cavaliers’ Record Books]

  • Anonymous

    also, he’s apparently gotten some lawyers to look into his playing for the Aussies this summer in London.

  • Wf3jl

    lebron was the best player the CAVS ever had and will ever have… no one can replace him … kyrie… sorry bro

  • Anonymous

    Sounds like we’ll be seeing a lot of Irving to Bogut highlights on SportsCenter.  Or maybe more like Bogut sets a screen and Irving slips the other way for a layup.

  • Anonymous

    you are assuming that Bogut would actually be healthy

  • Tyler from Athens

    not so fast man….kyrie is already a better shooter than lebron ever was or ever will be, and can get to the basket almost as easily also.  He’ll never be the same athlete, but could bet a better ball player.  (especially if lebrick continues to shrink in the 4th quarter clutch)

  • Jared in LA

    ESPN sucks a D with all of their projected stats and comparisons to measure how much a player is better than the next.  This has nothing to do with loving or hating Lebron James.  Irving is a special player it looks like, possibly an all star for many years to come.  But Irving will not go down as one of the top 20 players of all time, so comparing their first year stats is completely irrelevent to ANY conversation.  “…….rookie is on pace to best what James did his first year in Cleveland,
    outdistancing James in scoring and assists per 36 minutes”  WHAT? NOBODAY CARES for that comparison. Good for Irving for bringing excitement to the Cavs and playing well, but his rookie stats compared to Lebron James means nothing, literally NOTHING. 

    ESPN SUCKS and they are in love with statistics.  My favorite one is the PROJECTED fantasy football stats of individual players, for their weekly games.  “Mark Sanchez will go 18-28, 2 td’s, 1 pick vs. the Eagles”…PROJECTED? WHO CARES!     

  • Mullin216

    The best player who couldn’t deliver a title. I could see Irving easily passing him.

  • swig

    so maybe stats don’t tell the whole story, and Irving ends up being a better player to build a franchise around?  Given the last two years that’s easily plausible.

    P.S. Don’t poo on Cleveland fans hopes and dreams, it’s basically all we have.  kthxbai

  • porkchopxpress

    ESPN has only 2 types of stories.  Controversy starting/fueling types and stat projecting hypothetical whose better argument types.  Their website and channel are like sitting in a bar with the stupidest sports fan from each city. 
    I love how Irving has started out, but it is 12 freaking games.  This is like Hafner hitting 3 dingers in the opening series and then mentioning that he’s on pace for a 166 homer season.  Irving has the tools to become an elite talent, will he, who knows lets just enjoy it for what it is now.  My two favorite points in a basketball players career are the precocious 1/2nd year players doing things they shouldn’t be able to do yet, and those last few years getting by on guts, smarts and killer fade aways.

  • Yeah, I also hate when people try and make a case for something with those fancy “statistics” and “facts”.