Kyrie has come under a lot of criticism as of late following a single assist game in a win over the Dallas Mavericks. But are his passing numbers really that bad? Yes, he has had a career low average in assists this season, but sometimes the averages can tell only part of the story.
As a part of a feature on Kyrie Irving for Fansided, I pulled game log data from Basketball-Reference.com for the 2015-16 season for Irving and some comparable guards in the NBA. I wanted to see where his performances this season stood against the best guards in the NBA. Looking at assist counts, field goal attempts, and points totals for individual games, it shows that Irving is fairly normal for a guard. 75 percent of Irving's games logged between 7.75 and 3.25 assists, which falls within the range of other Eastern Conference guards like Kyle Lowry and Jimmy Butler. And half of Irving's games this season logged more than 5.5 assists.
In addition, his field goal attempts and points are on par with many of the guards. A median of 17 attempts remains consistent with Kemba Walker, Russel Westbrook, and DeMar DeRozen. While his 19.5 median points in games this season is low among this group, is it likely weighed down by his poor shooting performances coming back from injuries.
What shows in these box plots is a reality the Cavaliers need to face. Irving is a shoot-first guard on par with many of the top shooting guards in the league. He's been sharing point guard duties for much of the season with LeBron and the averages show that, but his average assists fails to show his range and capability to pass, which like most guards in the league is just fine.
Also, did you know it's Kyrie Irving's birthday today? Well, it is. He's 24 years old today. In fact, he is the youngest guard on these box plots. A lot of potential and time is still left for Irving to take his game to the next level. As always, Go Cavs.