Is Kyrie Irving Overrated?

Last season’s rookie of the year, Kyrie Irving, has made many a splash on Olympic scene as a member of the U.S select team. Its safe to say that Irving has been one of the best players to attend the Team USA camps and he’s dominated in the scrimmages. Most notably the one that each side played to 14–Irving scored 11 of the 14 points for the Select Team.

Many have been raving about Irving’s progress as a player and stating that he’s already among the upper echelon of point guards in the NBA. No doubt, as a rookie he was phenomenal and is shining right now as a member of the Select Team. However, saying that he’s somewhere among the top five in a league where the premier position is the point guard position is a bit of a stretch.

Irving is an up and coming talent in the league, but to mention him among the names of Chris Paul, Deron Williams, and Rajon Rondo is too much of a reach. Especially when its debatable if Irving will be better than John Wall in the long run and as of now. Take a look at these tweets from Ethan Sherwood Strauss of

Now, coming back down to Earth. Irving is one hell of a talent, once again. But to say that he’s better than Rondo is too much. Of course, he has one of the purest strokes in the NBA–he shot %39 from beyond the arch this season. That’s among the best in the league, not only last season’s rookie pool. Also, his handle on the ball is out of this world. Irving can dribble through some of the best defenses in the NBA–ask the Boston Celtics.

Statistically speaking, his season was great for a rookie, but it isn’t anything that we haven’t seen before. Aside from his three point shooting, his numbers weren’t all that mind-boggling. Irving scored 18.5 points per game along with 5.4 assists per game on %46 shooting overall. Take a look at some of the other rookie point guards who’ve come into the league in recent years and also take a look at his numbers against some of the better point guards when they’ve come into the league as well.

While Irving’s numbers stick out in terms of scoring, I worry about his turnover to assist ratio. His advanced numbers in these respective groups worry me also. Here they are against the more recent crop of guards and here they are against a more polished crop of guys with the exception of Wall in all of their rookie seasons.

The thing that sticks out to me is how much his usage rate sticks out compared to every single one of the others. Irving was in the top 15 players with the highest usage rate this season, so I’d expect some bloated numbers from out of him. He was given the greenlight since coming into the league and he’s no doubt improved the Cavliers, but to rank him among the top crop of point guards with that turnover to assist ratio would be wrong.

He doesn’t have as many turnovers as John Wall does, however he doesn’t have as many assists either. John Wall averaged 3.9 turnovers this season for along with 8 assists. His assist total ranked 7th in the league as well. Irving is nowhere near as good of a passer as John Wall is. Especially when averaging 3.1 turnovers.

Also, another thing that people don’t mention about Irving are his health issues. We know that he didn’t play that much ball at Duke, but he also missed almost 1/4th of the Cavaliers games last season. Health could be an issue with Irving for a large portion of his career. That’s something that needs to be taken into account.

While I love Irving’s game, I’m not ready to put him into the top five just yet. I think we all need to pull back on the reigns a little bit and let him play ball.


8 responses to “Is Kyrie Irving Overrated?

  1. Irving actually surprised the hell out of me his rookie season.

    I didn’t see all that much of him at Duke, who did really, so I was surprised to see him come in and make such a splash.

    Obviously tough to rank him in the top 5 with all the nasty points guards in the game right now but we’ll give him a few years and see how he does.

    I know I’d take him on my team.

  2. Great Post Mike!! I agree, he’s a helluva talent but it’s FAR too early to put him in that conversation with CP3, DWill, Rondo, etc. No disrespect, but it’s one year(a helluva year none the less), need to see how he fares from here on out. Does he continue to ascend or does he regress a bit second time round. Definitely one of the best YOUNG PG’s in the league, just too early to crown any of them by putting them in that “ELITE” category! Once again- Great job, very well written!!

  3. One year can’t really determine whether Irving is overrated or not. He was drafted #1 overall, so expectations were that he would win ROTY. He ended up having a strong season for a terrible Cleveland team, which isn’t surprising considering his scoring average was 18.5 points in 51 games, with just 5.4 assists over that span. With Anthony Parker and Daniel Gibson as your primary SG’s, most of the scoring responsibility was put on Irving’s shoulders. He’s not elite and probably will still end up being a lesser Chris Paul, but still top 8 bound down the road. Also, no mention of D-Rose in some replies…makes me sad 😦

    • I disagree. It isn’t time that rates a player, its public opinion. There’s a portion of hoop watchers that think that he’s already on par with some of the best point guards in the league. That’s being overrated.

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