Duke’s Kyrie Irving Ready to be a #1 Pick Franchise Player?

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kyrie irving nba draft

It is thought, but not confirmed that the Cleveland Cavaliers will take Duke point guard Kyrie Irving Thursday night with the #1 overall pick in the NBA Draft.

The Cavs haven’t told him he’ll be the first overall selection, but it is likely between him and Derrick Williams, and conventional wisdom seems to be leaning towards Irving.

With his numbers: 17.5 points per game, 4.3 assists per game, 46 percent shooting from beyond the arc, it’s easy to see why. But he’s only played 11 games of college basketball, so it’s only natural to wonder if he’s ready -physically and mentally- to be a cornerstone for a NBA franchise.

By Paul M. Banks

“There are some people who think why did I even come to college if I was only going to play 11 games? I came to college to get an education and play college basketball, and I was unfortunate to get injured,” Irving said.

“It was not my intention to only play 11 games.”

Sure, there have been a ton of one-and-dones since the NBA instituted the rule (Kentucky has a whole bunch all by themselves, seemingly every year), but Irving is a unique case, because he only played 11 games. Currently, the league is considering changing the one-and-done rule to a two year minimum, so it’s interesting to see where he weighs in on this topic.

“If they do move it up great, I enjoyed my college experience. It was a really tough decision for me to leave based on the relationships I had with the coaches and the whole aura of the Duke campus,” he said.

Either way, it won’t keep him from making his millions this summer. Baseball has a rule- you can jump from high school right away, or if you do go to college, it’s a minimum three year commitment. That’s a decision I would support. Most of the NBA and college hoops literati I’ve spoken with also favor this idea. Irving’s thoughts?

“I’m not sure. I think you should leave it up to the player, it’s their personal choice if they want to test the waters.”

Many people are labeling this draft class as one of the weakest of all time. And it’s easy to understand why. But that doesn’t take away from the achievement of being #1 overall in Irving’s eyes.

“I don’t really pay attention to whether they call it weak or strong or anything like that,” he said at the draft combine in Chicago. And he’s quite certain he made the right decision in entering the draft.

“If I had any questions I wouldn’t have come back. I truly believe that I wouldn’t have come out had I only played 8 games though.”

“I came back for the NCAA Tournament because 1.)  I was ready, and 2.) I wanted to answer all the questions about whether this toe injury would have a lingering effect on my career.”

So in other words, yes, Kyrie is ready to shoulder the expectations that will soon be thrust upon him.

Go here for a video interview of Irving from the NBA Draft combine

Go here for a detailed scouting report on Irving.

Paul M. Banks is CEO of The Sports Bank.net. He’s also a regular contributor to Chicago Now, Walter Football.com, Yardbarker, and Fox Sports You can follow him on Twitter

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