This is a great article in my opinion. I wish I could post all of it it's that good, but I have to leave out a few parts. Click the link for all of it in totality.
I know he's got a lot of huge fans here and I don't exactly hate or dislike the guy myself (don't get it twisted). I just think a lot of the criticism is warranted & valid.
Between a jaw-dropping highlight reel, an overstuffed stat sheet and an undeniably appealing commercial campaign, Cleveland Cavaliers point guard Kyrie Irving looks and acts the NBA superstar part.
The hoops world is clearly buying his work, as the third-year guard was recently selected as an Eastern Conference All-Star starter.
In a league run by superstars, Irving has established himself with the ruling class—despite having some glaring holes in his resume.
The 21-year-old is charismatic, immensely talented and unbelievably exciting to watch. He's also the NBA's most overrated superstar, and he's facing an uphill battle in shedding that label.
Not a Leader
When the Cavs won the draft lottery in 2011, they seemed to be staring at a jackpot prize.
Irving's track record said he was the perfect man for the job. A natural point guard packing a mighty scoring punch while always keeping a keen eye out for his teammates, he was a no-brainer (and, potentially, a game-changer) for the Cavs.
Some two-plus years into his Cleveland stay, though, the franchise is still waiting for him to have a superstar impact. In fact, this group looks strikingly similar to the 19-win outfit he was supposed to save:
Yet individual production is supposed to be Irving's calling card. His team hasn't gotten any better since his arrival, so his superstar ascent has been based solely largely on his solo stat sheets.
"Last season, I would've told you Irving was a top four or five point guard," Fox Sports Ohio's Sam Amico wrote. "This year, I'm not so sure -- and %5BDerrick%5D Rose and the Celtics' Rajon Rondo have been injured, so they're not even in the discussion."
What's worse is that Amico was actually trying to make the point that Irving isn't overrated—by leaving Irving out of the top five point guards, ranks that don't include Rajon Rondo or Derrick Rose, either.
That's how far Irving's stock has slipped, even if fans still think they're seeing the same returns.
"At some point, winning has to matter more than All-Star games, 3-point shootouts and even USA Basketball," Jason Lloyd of the Akron Beacon Journal wrote. "At some point, if Irving wants to be considered the best in the league, he has to win."
If the Cavs (16-28) can't win in this Eastern Conference, they may never win again. At least, not as long as their superstar continues neglecting one end of the floor.
Cavs coach Mike Brown was supposed to fix this issue.
Well, Irving has suited up 41 times for Brown. And he looks as lost as he's ever been on defense:On the season, he's been the difference between Cleveland having a dominant defense and an overly porous one.
With Irving on the floor, the Cavs have allowed 106.3 points per 100 possessions. Stretched out across the season, that would be the league's fifth-worst defensive rating. When Irving takes a seat, that number drops all the way to 99.5. Only the Indiana Pacers, Chicago Bulls and Oklahoma City Thunder have a better defensive rating than the Irving-less Cavs.
As for his solo assignments, Irving has been getting cooked. Opposing players are posting an 18.6 player efficiency rating—league average is 15.0—against him on the season, via 82games.com. He's also been hit for 0.90 points per possession defensively, via Synergy Sports (subscription required), nearly the same amount he's posted at the opposite side (0.93).
Granted, not every superstar is a two-way force.
But Irving isn't a potent enough offensive weapon to compensate for lethargic play at the other end.
Will He Ever Reach His Hype?
If he wants the style-over-substance career, he wouldn't be the first player to follow that path.
But if he wants something more, if he truly wants to make an impact in this league, he has to change. There are way too many problems being conveniently swept under the rug right now.
As Lloyd said in defense of his critical column, "I just think we’ve reached the point where he has to take accountability for some of this stuff."
The bad losses, the sieve defense, the lack of growth for both himself and his team—these are all serious problems, and ones that need to be solved.
Irving's not the only overhyped star. But he sits as the game's biggest offender.
It's hard to place that label on anyone entrenched in the playoff race given Irving's inability to carry his team even that far. Carmelo Anthony and Kevin Love are similarly on the outside looking in, but their stat sheets (27.2 points and 9.0 rebounds; 24.9 points, 12.9 rebounds and 4.1 assists, respectively) are a level above Irving's.
Irving has the talent to reach the game's premium pedestal, but he has to want it and be willing to work for it.
No matter how hard the hoops world tries, it can't lift him to that ultimate stage on its own.
FULL ARTICLE inside link.