From how well the Celtics were playing at the end of last season and into the playoffs it just looks far different from what we have watched this season.
When Kyrie Irving came out in 2011 from Duke, he only had 11 games behind him, hardly a lot of games, by any regulation. But he still came in highly touted as being an astonishing talented player who had extremely high potential. His rookie season was fantastic, scoring 18.5 a night, finding time to get 5.4 dimes a game, with a team with Lester Hudson (who?) and 35 year old Antawn Jamison as his main go-to options to score the ball. While the Cavs struggled with an awful 21-45 record. But Irving certainly was the best of the rookies that year, winning Rookie of the Year.
Coming in at such a tender age of 18, and being handed “leader of a team” so quickly is evidently not something that most regular folks can really comprehend. He has always had a knack for scoring the ball, and he has had no problems in that facet of his game. but at this point in his career, as a PG in the NBA, he needs to get his team more active. He finally has some legitimate talent around him to score the rock. Keep players involved, get them the ball, open the game up. This is a far contrasting team now than in 2011.
Because of this scoring mind frame that many of the young stars of the league have, there are some nights, where Kyrie looks a bit selfish on the court. And some nights where he looks like he can be the best point guard in the league, when he is dishing 10 assists and winning games with his game control, and nights where he seems overrated, where he is turning the ball over 8 times, not distributing the ball well, and looking solely for his own shot. Expert handicapper TonyK of VegasTopDogs beleives the Cavs are a sleeper team for the second half of the NBA Season.
With the addition of Luol Deng, who can score the ball (18.4/PPG), young upstart, Dion Waiters (14.8/PPG) and 3 year PF, coming into his own Tristan Thompson (12.2/ PPG) he has the talent around him. He has no defense, nor do the Cavs for not moving the team headfirst. In particular with Luol Deng in town, the Cavs are formally ready for better play.
As long as Irving proceeds to develop, and gets his APG up to around 7-8 a game, cut his shots down to maybe 15, let Deng be the scoring option 1, let him get 18-19 shots, they could make a genuine run at the playoffs. Not saying they are a serious playoff challenger by any means, but they could be a 40-45 win team, and make it electric for Cleveland fans, who haven’t had anything to cheer about since LeBron James was dominating.
Kyrie Irving has a very high ceiling at only 21, I see a bright future for him and the Cavs, as long as he stays diligent and learns to trust his teammates. Irving no longer is strained to lead them exclusively, which is a good thing for the Cavs as a whole.