Why are we questioning whether Kyrie Irving is an elite point guard?
Most articles I write are about events that actually happen in a game, giving journalists like me the chance to express their feelings, from appreciation to disgust and everything in between. Every once in a while though, something comes up out of the blue and causes everyone to start losing their minds about it. This time, it concerns the Cleveland Cavaliers’ point guard, Kyrie Irving, and gauging exactly how good he is.
ESPN Insider recently released an article questioning whether Irving truly belongs in the same breath as some of the other top-tier point guards that the NBA has to offer at the moment. Now I don’t know how the people at Insider thought that NBA fans would react to this, but right now it feels somewhere in between standing dumbfounded, mouth agape and throwing things in frustration. To make this argument, honestly, is to disregard all the heroics he produced during the NBA Finals last season against the Warriors, as well as the relatively sustained production throughout the 7-game series.
That said, Irving’s credentials speak for themselves. Just this year, he’s averaging 23.8 PPG, above his career average, on 46% field goal shooting. Additionally, he’s averaging 5.7 APG and 3.5 RPG. All of these are numbers you’d expect from a first-rate point guard in the NBA. But it’s Irving’s clutch factor that truly guarantees his top-tier candidacy. There are only a handful of players presently in the NBA who makes crucial shots at crucial moments at the rate that Irving does.
I feel the reason why this is even a story is because people judge Kyrie Irving perhaps a little bit harsher than everyone else. He’s certainly under more scrutiny, seeing as he plays with LeBron James, so it figures that each mistake would be magnified. But that’s the thing. The mistakes are MAGNIFIED, thereby making them seem more crucial than they really are.
In closing, simply suggesting that the man who hit the series-clinching three-pointer in the NBA Finals in June is not a top point guard in the league is blasphemous and, while everyone is obviously entitled to their opinion, this one does not deserve to see the time of day.