Feb 17, 2013, 6:30 PM EST
When the microphones were turned off at one media session this week, one All-Star player (not from the East) wanted to talk about Kyrie Irving. He said he and other players were talking and think in three years he’ll be the best point guard in the NBA.
It’s hard to argue — his game has grown this year and he showed Saturday night he has range on his shot, winning the Three Point Shooting contest.
That is at the heart of what Cavaliers players have been saying all weekend in Phoenix — they’re young but they like what is being built.
“It’s exciting,” said forward Tristan Thompson. “We’re all around the same age, we’ve built through the draft. Look at the (Rising Stars game Friday night), we have four guys in our starting lineup who are in this game. It shows how much time and effort we are putting in to get better as a team.”
“We’re really young, we’re figuring out things,” Irving said. “I mean our starting five, we probably have 10 years of experience, all five of us combined.”
But you’re not going to grow into an elite team in the NBA without an elite player, and that is Irving. His timing coming to Cleveland was unfortunate in that it was easy to see him as the guy replacing LeBron James. That’s not fair to Irving, who is a very different kind of player and leader.
“It’s just me trying to be myself, I wasn’t trying to replace anybody,” Irving said. “I am trying to turn a new page in Cleveland, get the fans excited again, to show the fans we have a lot of hope and are optimistic about this team.”
Irving, after returning from injury, has been very impressive, having made leaps since his rookie season — when he was Rookie of the Year.
“The pace of the game slowed down for me,” Irving said. “Just understanding who else is on the floor, understanding defenses.”
Irving also had added a little muscle in the offseason to help with the physicality he has started to face, but that didn’t exactly go according to plan.
“At the beginning of the season I came in feeling like I had a lot of armor on me,” Irving said. “Then I had my wisdom teeth taken out, lost 10 pounds. I got sick, I lost five pounds. So now I’m back to where I started.”
Cavaliers players all talked about seeing more young players come in through the draft. Irving seemed interested in maybe seeing if some free agents can be brought in as well. The Cavaliers have what free agents covet most — cap space.
But whatever direction that goes, the young guns of the Cavaliers think they are building something special. And they may be.
Jan 29, 2015, 12:14 PM EST
Spurs guard completes field
Jan 29, 2015, 11:41 AM EST
Thunder star is ridiculous(ly awesome)
Jan 29, 2015, 11:03 AM EST
A mutual parting after season wouldn’t be a surprised
Jan 29, 2015, 10:19 AM EST
‘Person close to Durant’ cites Thunder star’s fondness of Carmelo Anthony
Jan 29, 2015, 9:43 AM EST
Rockets center requires further testing
Jan 29, 2015, 9:06 AM EST
Happy times for Cavaliers. How long will they continue?
Jan 29, 2015, 8:30 AM EST
Sidney is the poster child for the can’t miss prospect that missed.
Jan 29, 2015, 8:00 AM EST
At this point there have been no charges or arrests.
Jan 29, 2015, 1:29 AM EST
The Sixers, Knicks and Timberwolves win on the same day? Isn’t that one of the signs of the apocalypse?
Jan 29, 2015, 12:01 AM EST
The good news is that Walker may return in as little as six weeks, which means Charlotte’s playoff chances should remain intact.
Jan 28, 2015, 11:15 PM EST
The Hall of Famer held the previous record with 33 points in a period, but did so before the three-point line was implemented.
Jan 28, 2015, 10:30 PM EST
This one’s not too bad.
Jan 28, 2015, 9:43 PM EST
Kyrie Irving should have had the NBA Jam announcer calling this game.
Jan 28, 2015, 8:50 PM EST
Barnes immediately played the victim card after receiving the fine, but the NBA (and the video) say otherwise.
Jan 28, 2015, 7:50 PM EST
“Softer but not illegal,” Jackson attempted to clarify.
Jan 28, 2015, 7:00 PM EST
Cleveland is just 1-8 without LeBron in the lineup this season.
Kobe Bryant expected to be ready for start of 2015-16 season after undergoing successful shoulder surgery
Jan 28, 2015, 6:37 PM EST
Bryant will miss the remainder of the current season, and is expected to be sidelined for nine months.
Jan 28, 2015, 6:13 PM EST
One may have to work a little harder to find the late night parties in Cleveland.
Jan 28, 2015, 5:30 PM EST
Larry Sanders’ suspension allows Milwaukee to add 16th player
Jan 28, 2015, 4:45 PM EST
He is likely bought out if the Celtics can’t find a trade partner.
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- Dwight Howard out at least two games with swelling in his knee 5
- Five Things We Learned in NBA Wednesday: Is this rock bottom for Oklahoma City? 9
- He’s on Fire! Kyrie Irving scores 55, knocks down game winning three (VIDEO) 50
- LeBron James out Wednesday vs. Blazers with wrist injury 6
- Home-court advantage means less than ever in NBA. Why? 18
- Nikola Mirotic’s unique style rewarding Bulls for waiting on him 17
- What We Learned in NBA Tuesday Night: Bulls fans should want more of this attacking Derrick Rose 28