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Sports Illustrated predicts Cleveland Cavaliers point guard Kyrie Irving will be the NBA's 21st best player

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Kyrie Irving rates highly in Sports Illustrated's projections of the 100 best players in the NBA.

Gonzalo Arroyo Moreno

It's the time of year for rankings of all kinds. People want to see how teams and players stack up. SportsIllustrated.com is putting together a list of what it believes will be the game's top 100 players this season.

SI.com is proud to offer our list of the Top 100 NBA players of 2015, an exhaustive exercise that seeks to define who will be the league's best players in the 2014-15 season.

Kyrie Irving is coming off a season in which he averaged over 20 points and six assists per contest at the age of 21 while posting a minuscule turnover rate, and almost everyone was disappointed by his performance and play. As we've discussed, a lot of the consternation is valid. The Cavaliers offense was disjointed and Irving's shooting numbers were down across the board. SI.com still likes his potential, and expects him to have a nice 2014-15. They project him to be the 21st best player in the league this season. From Ben Golliver:

How insignificant does Irving’s flat-line 2013-14 season seem in comparison to the promise of the next half-decade of Cavaliers basketball?

It wasn’t all bad for Irving, whose his flashy off-the-dribble game and confident approach earned him his second straight All-Star appearance. On that stage, Irving took home MVP honors, a distress flare to the league’s other stars that seemed to be saying, "I’m still the most promising young point guard in this league, someone come save me from this mess." LeBron James and Kevin Love both arrive on their own terms, but they will certainly make life easier for Irving, who no longer needs to run the entire show on offense. Look for the No. 1 pick in 2011 to feast in the open court and in one-on-one situations when defenses load up on his All-Star teammates. His MVP performance at the FIBA World Cup gave viewers a taste of what he might look like if allowed more time and space, as Irving torched defenders off the dribble and made them pay for giving him too much daylight on the perimeter.

Yeah, Ben, that sounds pretty nice. Kyrie Irving might be the weak member of the Cavaliers new Big 3, which will feature LeBron James and Kevin Love, but it's important to remember he still has significant upside. He's locked into a long term deal with the Cavaliers now, and that is pretty exciting. There could be an adjustment period while they all try and learn how to maximize skill sets, but it sure seems like a good fit at the moment.