Kyrie Irving was the No. 1 draft pick in the 2011 NBA Draft. After spending a single year at Duke University, where he only appeared in eleven games due to an ankle injury, Irving was nonetheless selected by the Cleveland Cavaliers to be the new face of a franchise that was reeling from losing LeBron James to free agency. Irving, who had ended up on the Cavaliers due to the Baron Davis/Mo Williams trade, has lead the Cavs to a 93-202 record since he joined the organization.
Undoubtedly a tremendous offensive talent, Irving has been showered with accolades and awards. To writ, he’s been a two-time All-Star, a Rookie of the Year, All-Star MVP, and a first-team All-Rookie member. There’s also a 15 minute video for his (offensive highlights) on Youtube. It’s pretty awesome.
After you’re done watching that, though, take a look at this. These are the numbers for three star point guards in their third NBA season. All numbers pulled from basketball-reference.com.
- Player A: 21.3ppg/2.9rpg/8.9apg/ 42 percent-FG, 79 percent-FT, 33 percent-3PT, 20.8 PER, and 5.3 win shares
- Player B: 21.6ppg/7.0rpg/6.4apg/ 41 percent-FG, 77 percent-FT, 32 percent-3PT, 19.1 PER, and 4.4 win shares
- Player C: 21.4ppg/3.3rpg/6.3apg/ 42 percent-FG, 86 percent-FT, 36 percent-3PT, 20.3 PER, and 5.5 win shares
Pretty similar, huh? If you guessed that player A was Irving, you probably don’t remember Starbury very fondly. Irving’s never averaged close to the nearly-9 assists Stephon dished out back in the ’99 lockout season. Marbury, who’s first three seasons saw him go 102-96 with the Minnesota Timberwolves and the New Jersey Nets, is one of the top 20 NBA assist leaders of all time, and finished in the top 10 dime droppers for every season from 96-2005. Check out some of his highlights from all the way back in 2006. (Also the audio quality is awful, so watch it on mute.)
Marbury is now regarded as a talented guard who never “played the right way” and ate vaseline on camera. Conventional wisdom says that a team probably couldn’t build a championship contender around Starbury, but there hasn’t been a single eye batted at the Cav’s attempts to do so with Irving.