HANG TIME HEADQUARTERS — Welcome to the fish bowl Kyrie Irving!
You didn’t really think that six-month stint at Duke was going to prepare you for what you’ll face on a nightly basis as the face of the franchise in Cleveland, did you?
A bad game at Duke might have been overlooked. But a 2-for-12 shooting display (with 7 assists) and being outplayed bu your backup, Ramon Sessions, in your regular season debut will fire up the doomsday headlines … the News-Herald predictably dubbed Irving’s first game a “dud”:
It was an NBA debut to forget.
Rookie point guard Kyrie Irving’s first game was anything but memorable, as the Cavaliers were pelted by the Toronto Raptors, 104-96, on Monday at Quicken Loans Arena.
Irving, the first overall pick in the 2011 NBA draft, finished with just six points, seven assists and three rebounds. He shot 2 of 12 from the field, 1 of 5 from beyond the arc and committed one turnover in 26 minutes.
“It’s just one game,” Irving said. “It’s a learning process. I didn’t shoot the ball particularly well.”
Cavs coach Byron Scott made the announcement that Irving was his starter after Monday’s shootaround. There’s no turning back now, especially after backup Ramon Sessions had a game-high 18 points and six assists.
Sessions connected on 6 of 12 from the field and 2 of 4 from 3-point range. That was significant, since Sessions made three 3-pointers in 81 games last season.
Scott thought about letting Sessions finish the game since he had sparked the Cavs’ comeback late in the third quarter and early in the fourth.
“I want to learn what (Irving) can do,” Scott said.
On this night, it wasn’t much.
Might we suggest a little perspective for the Cavaliers fans worrying themselves after just one game that the franchise has made a mistake. The last two point guard Rookies of the Year had humble beginnings to their NBA careers as well. Tyreke Evans managed just 10 points on 5-for-10 shooting with two assists and three turnovers in his debut, while Derrick Rose posted 11 points on 3-for-9 shooting with nine assists and four turnovers in his curtain raising.
Young point guards of all shapes and sizes like Irving, Ricky Rubio (six points, six assists and five rebounds in 26 minutes as a reserve), Jimmer Fredette (six points, three assists and a rebound in his 26 minutes) and HT fave Kemba Walker (13 points, seven rebounds, three assists and the game-sealing free throws) will all be held to an unbelievably high standard of play this season based on the recent successes of predecessors like Evans, Rose, Russell Westbrook, John Wall, Brandon Jennings and others.
The common thread connecting all of these youngsters is that time is needed for their games to mature, especially when you factor in what position they play.
Irving, and all of these rookies, will be fine with a little more time.