A good way to gauge a player’s star value is to watch how opposing crowds treat him. With the Cavaliers visiting Brooklyn tonight, Kyrie Irving absolutely wowed the crowd with his insane handling and off the cuff passes, winning over the fans like he was Rocky in Russia. How good was Irving in a night he set a career-high for points with 34? Nearly every time he started his approach to the rim, the crowd buzzed in anticipation, waiting to see his next trick. Although the Cavaliers lost because they were essentially playing 2-on-5, Irving was still the main attraction of the evening.
While Irving was still in college at Duke, I heard current Blazers GM Neil Olshey say that Kyrie Irving was the next Chris Paul. I scoffed at the notion at the time. After all, you can make the argument, and I have, that Chris Paul is on a path to be the greatest point guard ever. But when you see Irving pull off moves from out of nowhere like this one, the comparison starts to make some sense. Here’s video of Irving gluing Kris Humphries to the floor with one of the best recoveries and passes you’ll see all year: