Kyrie Irving had his first "KYRIE!" performance of the season Monday against the Toronto Raptors, and LeBron James did not hold back when he was talking about his young co-star, via ESPN's Dave McMenamin:
"He’s special," James said of Irving. "He’s that special, man. He’s much better than an All-Star. Much better than an All-Star. If he continues to play the way he’s been playing but also continues to progress in his game over the years, he can do something that’s very special around this league. I’m not going to put too much pressure on him, but I know in my head what he can become in this league, and tonight he showed it."
"I mean, there would never be a question if Kyrie Irving is the MVP as long as he’s on the floor and he’s healthy," James said. "There’s not many guys, if any, at the point guard level that’s better than him. So I don’t think it should even be a question."
You should really check out the ESPN article for the full story, but it's pretty clear that James is very high on Irving's skill set. I'm going to assume that James meant that Irving could win an MVP in the future, especially considering that he added the qualifier about Irving being healthy.
There are so many good, young players in the league so it would be impossible to guarantee a future MVP for any player. But there's no denying that Irving possesses a special set of skills and certainly could potentially grow into an MVP-type player. Hell, Steph Curry only played 26 games when he was Kyrie's age, things can change in a hurry.
Typically, to get in the conversation, you don't necessarily need to be the best player in the game, but the best player on a contender. The Cavs are in position to be very good for a very long time and with James turning 31 recently, it makes sense that he would look to Irving to be the future of this team.
Is this meaningful? Probably not. You could probably make a case for any of the top 20 players right now and maybe 10 other guys that they could one day be in the MVP discussion. But it jives with what McMenamin told David and myself on the FTS podcast over the summer, that James thinks Irving is a unique and special talent. With an NBA Finals berth seeming like a foregone conclusion this season, Irving's journey to becoming a superstar really might be the only thing fans have to be invested in during the regular season this year, and possibly for the next couple years.