ESPN: Kyrie Irving will be league’s best point guard by 2015

As if getting the cover of the latest ESPN The Magazine was not enough, the four-letter network out of Bristol, Connecticut continues to rain praise on Cleveland Cavaliers point guard Kyrie Irving.

Within an Insider feature penned by Amin Elhassan, the NBA front office personnel director, we find the opinon that the Cavaliers’ star will be the preeminent point guard in all of the NBA come the year 2015.

“I sat down for my first look at Kyrie Irving as a collegiate basketball player. About 10 minutes later, I shut my notebook. “This kid is clearly wasting his time playing another minute of college ball,” I said to myself.

A few games later, he’d get injured and miss most of the remainder of the season. However, in those few appearances, he was one of the most NBA-ready freshmen I had ever seen, particularly at the point guard position. Two years into his pro career, Irving seems destined for greatness. How great? By 2015, he will be the best point guard in the NBA.

Elhassan applauds Irving’s patience, praises he recognition skills, and lauds his willingness to lead teammates who are far more experienced than he. Scouting breakdowns of Irving’s ability to dribble (or “handles” as the kids say) put them right up there with future Hall of Fame point guard Chris Paul.

Among the items that could hinder Irving are a weak supporting cast that force him to be a score-first point guard instead of a play-making passer; he is forced to conserve energy on the defensive end, leading to low efficiency totals and an unhappy head coach.

“The longer Irving has to play savior on offense, the longer it will be acceptable for him to give sub par effort on the defensive end, which slows his overall development toward being the best PG in the league,” writes Elhassan.

He later adds that Irving marries the skills of a savvy veteran with the fresh legs of a young player. “Coaches want to coach him and marketers want to pay him — it’s only a matter of time before he becomes the example after which other players will pattern themselves.”

[Related: Win in Washington shows young Cavaliers what it takes]

  • The_Real_Shamrock
  • Tomk777

    Time for the Lakers to get him, if things progress as they usually do, he will play a few years in Cleveland, then figure out he’s wasting his time there, demand a trade to a big market team, and then make a “decision ” . Nash was a stop gap, Kobe is retiring, that gives the Lakers 40 million to shop for a new point guard and a new wing player to go along with Dwight Howard.

  • FearTheRoo

    Yeah most fans like to think he is different. But they were the same one’s who thought Lebron would never leave. I don’t expect Kyrie to stick around long. I’m all for patience but it’s tough to be patient when star players leave so frequently. I was actually thinking he would be more fitting for the Knicks, being from NJ and team with Melo?

  • CLTCavs

    Agreed…I don’t really see many scenarios where he sticks around a couple years from now. The Cavs better hit some home runs in the next draft and be aggressive in free agency this summer…I think the Cavs have to make the playoffs next year for there to be any remote chance of him sticking around.

  • Dylan

    Obviously you guys are fans of big market teams, and you think you’re team is entitled to have all the young talent that gets drafted to smaller markets. I can think of two players who wanted to go to bigger markets..Melo and Dwight. That’s it. There’s a reason this kind of BS only comes from fans of the Lakers, Heat, Knicks, etc. Get real, he’s not leaving Cleveland anytime soon

  • CLTCavs

    @Dylan I hope you are right. I just think at a point there is going to have to be some real progress towards competing for a championship or the elite talent in the league is going to be looking to make a move.

    The Cavs have potentially two All-Stars on their roster in Andy and Kyrie and they have the 3rd worst record in the league. By the end of the year that could change and we may seem some real progress, but if by the end of next season this team with whatever additions are made through the draft and via free agency, aren’t sniffing the playoffs then it is going to be time to panic a bit.

  • david

    if you know anything about the salary cap, you know there is almost no conceivable way he leaves Cleveland before finishing his 8th season in the league.

  • typo

    I don’t know much about the salary cap. Can you explain that?

  • Jax

    I dunno about Irving being the best, top three certainly though. Can’t forget about DRose, Wall, Westbrook, etc.

  • The_Real_Shamrock
  • simond

    umm is rondo chopped liver?

  • You don’t honestly think that Rondo has a higher ceiling than Irving, do you?

  • Rose should be able to give Irving a run for his money if the knee shakes out alright. I’d put Irving on par with Westbrook right now; I think Kyrie should pull ahead within the next three seasons. Wall? I think that debate is long in the rear view.

  • simond

    as far as ceiling no kyrie’s is far greater – i’m with you.

    i think rondo has had a great supporting cast and isnt far from his ceiling right now.

    i personally think rondo is a top 2-3 pg in the league today. just seems like all the scoring pg’s are getting all the love.

    also – if rubio develops as a scorer he could be in the conversation.

  • Captain Kidd

    What did Kyrie post on twitter that he is apologizing about?

  • While there are certainly many examples of stars being selfish and leaving their original teams and fans – Clevelanders knowing that better than possibly anybody else – there are also examples of some staying in small-market cities. Kevin Durant may be the second best player in the league and he has quietly committed himself to OKC. San Antonio is one of the smallest cities in professional sports and they’ve hosted Tim Duncan, Tony Parker, and Manu Ginobli for years. David West, while not the biggest start, did voluntarily sign with Indiana.

    The Cavs have some of the best facilities in the league, a very respected head coach, a passionate fan base, and an owner who is passionate about winning. We can only hope Kyrie sees it that way, too, and takes the Kevin Durant approach to things. Is it guaranteed? No – but it’s certainly not a long-shot, either.

  • zonk

    his 8th season? Unless there was a significant change, it would be 7 years, and after that it would benefit him to leave to play for Orlando or Miami in Florida with no income taxes if you are talking strictly cash..

  • zonk

    Did Chris Paul suddenly retire?

    2015 rankings (age in brackets that year):

    1) Paul (30)
    2) Rose (27)
    3) Irving (24)
    4) Rondo (29)

    5) Deron Williams (31)

    6) Westbrook (27)