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Kyrie Irving makes the Cavaliers better how?

June 23, 2011

The Cavalier’s have the 1st, and 4th selections in tonight’s draft. They have an opportunity to add an impact player, and depth, to a team that’s young, energetic. and improving through this post LeBron James transition. For whatever reason, Irving is the consensus #1 player available, although that really depends on who you ask. I think Williams, regardless of position, is the most dynamic player in the draft, and my choice for the Cavalier’s with the 1st selection.

I’ve heard the same tired cliche’s used to describe Irving as of late, that I witnessed being used to describe James for 7 years. I’m not saying Irving won’t be a good player, he very well may be, but just because he is perceived to be the best PG in this years draft, doesn’t mean you go and take him, or that he is necessarily best for you.

Who exactly did Irving make better at Duke? He didn’t carry, or elevate the program, they were the defending National Champions. When, and where did he make a difference? Granted, he started as a freshman, so what… Duke went 8-0…Yes they did, but what was so impressive about beating Princeton, Miami (OH), Colgate, Marquette, Kansas St, Oregon, Michigan St, and Butler?

I don’t think Duke “needed” Irving, to defeat any of those teams, Michigan St finished a disappointing 19-15, and Butler was struggling early in the season to find itself. Irving was nothing more than a marquee piece added, to an already strong program. not much different than any pieces in years past. What’s most impressive, is that Duke went through their conference schedule without Irving, went 22-4 in that span, won the ACC Tournament, securing a #1 seed in the NCAA Tournament. What exactly was Irving’s impact? Duke didn’t trip and fall, when Irving suffered turf toe, in fact, they didn’t miss a beat.

What little was seen of Irving, nothing particular stood out, other than perceived, public, and national perception. He scored 17 PPG, 4 AST, 3 REB, he did however shoot an impressive 529% FG. I will say the opposition had a lot to do with that, and once again, its a sample of only 11 games played. Nolan Smith, was actually more productive. Duke also had 9 players that played over 10 MPG, 7 of those playing over 20 MPG.

Brandon Knight, who by most is perceived to be the 2nd rated PG in this draft, averaged 17 PPG, 4 AST, 4 REB, yet unlike Irving, he carried Kentucky. He only shot .423% FG, but he was a part of a 6 player rotation, all of whom played over 28 MPG, with 4 being over 31 MPG. Enes Kanter, who was ruled ineligible by the NCAA, would have more than lessened his burden, as Knight topped out at almost 36 MPG. Not too make excuses on his behalf, but tired legs, can effect your shot. I’m sure he can improve his shooting through hard work, and his burden at the professional level, won’t be as heavy. Regardless, he can defend his position, and flat out score the ball.

Stop with trying to compare Irving to previous PG’s drafted, the ones professing him to have been better than Chris Paul as a Freshman….Stop it! Paul competed in the very tough ACC, which Irving missed, due to injury. Paul elevated the Wake Forest program, the same cannot be said for Irving, on any level. To follow that argument up with, “Coach K never recruits 1 and done players”. Coach K almost lost the National Championship to Butler the year before, that in itself was more than enough, to change one’s way of thinking.

I watched Derrick Williams during the year, and he just flat stood out! In a game in which Duke needed Irving the most, he had no impact, he didn’t make a difference in the game, other than keep Duke in it. Sure he scored 28 points, but he only had 3 assists, 0 rebounds, and he lost by 16. For the record, Chris Paul had an impact in the NCAA Tournament. You look at Williams, and not only did he score 32 points, but he was dominant in doing so! He was a beast around the basket, from 3 PT range (5-6), he had 13 rebounds (6 OFF), 2 assists, 2 steals, and led Arizona back from a 6 point 1st half deficit, in rolling #1 Duke by 22 in the 2nd half. That’s having an impact, that’s making a difference.

I know Irving was only playing his 3rd game, coming back from injury. The bottom line is, Williams was the deciding factor. All the so called national experts, voicing his lack of a position, if he says he can play SF, I give him an opportunity to do so. He is to good a player not too. In my opinion, he brings more to the table than Irving. The Cavalier’s aren’t as bad off at PG, as they had been in years past.

The addition of Davis, which added veteran leadership at the position, and Sessions, who carried them when Mo Williams went down. I think it was the play of Sessions, that made Williams expendable. Sessions can play on or off the ball. After watching him for a whole season, and I was one of the few that stated Sessions should have started from day 1. He improved with his time on the floor, even when Scott was unsure of how to play him in the line-up. He had a strong February, starting 9/11 games in which he averaged 20 PPG, 9 AST, 4 REB, and he shot 56% from FG.

All this talk about him being a serviceable bench player, not the long term answer at PG, isn’t the right fit to run Byron Scott’s offense, etc… What Scott needs most is productive, and efficient players, and there aren’t many available like William. As for position, Williams would be at 1 of the 5 allowed on the floor at any given time, it would begin there for me.

I would go Williams #1, and take my chances on getting Knight at #4, or possibly a PG later, such as Walker, if he slips, Morris, Cole, Jackson, or even Smith. Either way, the Cavalier’s have an opportunity to get another impact player, or player worth developing at #4. Irving will then likely go at #2, with a few teams attempting to trade up for him. I can’t see PG going with picks #2, and #3. Either way, by going Williams #1, the Cavalier’s put others in the position of seriously changing their draft boards if Irving is still on the board at #2

For all things Cavalier’s and NBA basketball, follow me on twitter @CLECavsOutsider

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