Kyrie Irving enters his third year in the NBA with a Rookie of the Year award and All-Star selection under his belt. He took the league by storm during All-Star weekend where he created headlines by stealing Brandon Knight's pride and setting it on fire in the Rookie-Sophomore game, winning the 3 point shooting contest, and then holding his own in the main event with the greatest players in the world.
Now, Irving wants to be the best player in the world.
Kyrie has been Rookie of Year & an All-Star, now he wants to be best player in league. Says he "dedicated myself to my craft" this summer— Jason Lloyd (@JasonLloydABJ) September 30, 2013
Now, every NBA player who reaches elite status puts forth work in the NBA offseason. You have to do it. Every team that plays the Cavaliers gameplans for Kyrie Irving. The weight the organization has put on Irving's shoulders is probably unfair. Irving isn't shying away though. He organized workouts with his teammates in California this summer.
Kyrie Irving says "I was afraid to be alone this summer," joking about making teammates travel to his organized workouts.— M.S. Boyer/J. Valade (@PDcavsinsider) September 30, 2013
He acknowledges that his defense has to get better. His offensive skill is close to unparallelled, and he is only 21 years old. LeBron James, and then Kevin Durant, are likely to hold the title of best player in the world for the next four or so years, at a minimum. But Irving has the ability to put himself in that conversation. Put around better teammates, and his skills in the pick and roll will improve. He has the tools to be a capable defender. He will improve playing off the ball, where his shooting makes him a great spot-up candidate. And as he gets older and understands NBA defenses, his cutting away from the ball can get better. Point is, we often look at Irving as a complete offensive package. He isn't. And it appears he realizes this.
Coming off a season where there were some questions about Irving's attitude, I have to say that he handled the offseason about as well as he could be expected to. He appears ready to get to work on the defensive end:
Kyrie joked he's ready to be in a defensive stance for the next 31 days, referring to training camp and Mike Brown's defensive philosophy— Jason Lloyd (@JasonLloydABJ) September 30, 2013
There is a lot of uncertainty about the Cavaliers this season. What isn't uncertain is that if Kyrie Irving is healthy, the Cavaliers have a chance to win every single night. What's not to like?