Tag: Kyrie Iriving


Likely top pick Kyrie Irving makes it official, enters draft


Kryie Irving is leaving Duke after his freshman year to enter the NBA draft. It’s official.

This wasn’t really a surprise to anyone except delusional, hard-core Duke fans who refuse to believe anyone is going to leave their heaven-on-earth campus, but reality intrudes once again.

Irving likely will be the top overall pick. Start trying to picture him in the wine and gold of Cleveland now. (Although if Minnesota gets the top pick they can add him to Ricky Rubio and Luke Ridnour and Jonny Flynn in a couple years for a four PG and Kevin Love lineup.) Follow this link to the official Duke statement, I’m not going to put those dull quotes here.

Irving only played 11 games this past season for Duke due to a foot injury, but recovered in time for the NCAA Tournament, stepped in a looked good. (Duke didn’t lost because of him, they lost because of team defense.)

Irving is maybe the one franchise-changing guy in this draft. He is a very good all-around point guard — he can shoot (46 percent from three), pass, he’s quick, he understands the game. He plays a position that has become more important in the NBA.

He’s going to be good. The only questions have been will he be Derrick Rose/John Wall good, or is he a step below them? (Note, we mean what Wall can grow into in a couple years, not what he was as a rookie, which still was pretty good.) Scouts are divided. However, in this draft, where there are no other franchise guys, it’s a risk a team will take.

Since we’re talking draft we’ll throw in another Tobacco Road note: junior Tyler Zeller and sophomore John Henson are returning to North Carolina for another year. Harrison Barnes, the one from that team who would be drafted highest, has het to make up his mind.

Lockout has some top college prospects hesitant about NBA

NCAA Men's Championship Game - Butler v UConn

If you’re an elite college basketball player thinking about the NBA, this is the advice you get from the sage people (not the dirty agents and others trying to be a parasite, but the people looking out for the students):

If you are a guaranteed first-round pick in the NBA draft, you have to seriously consider going.

Because it means — at the very minimum — three years guaranteed money and as players have a limited career to earn money this gets you on the clock and out of your rookie deal at a younger age so you can earn more down the line. You can still get your degree, but you only have a short window to earn money that can and should set you up for life.

But the looming NBA lockout changes the equation. There will be a lockout and potentially a protracted one (the NBA sides are farther apart than the NFL owners and players, and you see how well that is going.) The New York Times spoke to a number of people involved and while so far nobody is really seeing a difference because of the threat of a lockout it could happen.

“I had one N.B.A. guy tell me that anyone that is a bubble guy, the lockout should pop everyone’s bubble,” Georgia Coach Mark Fox said in a telephone interview. “Those guys are a risk anyway. Put this factor into the mix, and it’s just too volatile.”

“I think it will have an effect, and it should have one,” the agent Mark Bartelstein said, noting the consequence of leaving early and being sidelined by a lockout. “That’s a disastrous thing for a player in the development stage of his career. It is an issue, and something I’ve raised with coaches and families, and that’s part of the equation, I think.”

There are still guys in for it. Duke’s Kyrie Irving — the likely No. 1 overall pick — is expected to announce he is still coming out for the NBA soon. Kemba Walker of Connecticut also is expected to decide soon and told the Times the lockout will not impact his decision. Ohio State’s Jared Sullinger (likely a top five pick) has said he is staying. (We should note that the list of players who said they are staying during the tournament then left anyway is a long and storied one, so stay tuned.) UCLA’s Tyler Honeycutt is in and hired an agent so he is committed. There are a lot of guys putting their name out without agents to preserve their eligibility, but about the usual amount the NBA says.

The equation of the lockout works two ways, as Butler Coach Brad Stevens told the Times.

“Does that make this draft weaker? Might,” Stevens said. “So you might be able to get drafted higher. Does it make it so that nobody wants to go out because they don’t want to sit out their whole senior year and not play basketball until February?”

Nobody is sure what impact the lockout will have on prospects coming out. So far none, but that may change as decisions need to be finalized. We know the lockout is coming, and we know it’s going to be bad. The Summer League and that development time are certainly going to be wiped out. The question is camp and games, and many around the negotiations are not optimistic about saving all of those.

There are no easy decisions here. It’s just another way the lockout is going to screw with people’s lives.

Report: Duke’s Kyrie Irving likely to enter NBA draft


Duke’s Kyrie Irving missed most of the college season with a foot injury, came back in the NCAA Tournament and quickly established himself as the best player on the Blue Devil team again.

That was good enough for scouts — he is pretty much the consensus No. 1. He’s the one guy in this draft Jonathan Givony of Draft Express says could be a franchise changer (in a good way, don’t worry some GMs will find some franchise changers of the other kind in this draft). Irving has the complete game you want in a point guard.

And it looks like he is going to enter the draft, reports Chad Ford at ESPN’s draft blog.

We should be getting updates soon from a number of the top underclassmen. Sources say Kyrie Irving is leaning strongly toward declaring for the NBA Draft and should be making an announcement soon. Ditto for Baylor’s Perry Jones, UConn’s Kemba Walker and Kentucky’s Terrence Jones.

Duke fans can say Irving should get a full year of college ball if they want, but the fact is if you are going to be the top overall pick (or even are in the lottery) you make the move and go pro.

That said, the coming lockout is the big issue. Enter the draft, get picked, then you will sit and wait around until the labor situation is resolved. Which could be into the NBA season. Then when things start up training camps will be reduced in time, so there will be less time to learn the team’s system and adjust to the NBA game.

The lockout may keep some players in school. But apparently not Irving.

NCAA Sweet 16 and the NBA Draft: Kyrie Irving still the man

Kyrie Irving
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No scout, no NBA team is taking what they see in the NCAA Tournament as the whole picture of an NBA prospect. They’ve been following these players all season, they have a pretty complete picture before the tournament tips off.

But the tournament brings more intense competition against better opponents, and that’s always a good measuring stick. See how the guy does in a cauldron of pressure.

Duke’s Kyrie Irving has solidified his spot as the No. 1 guy to go. Even if the Timberwolves get that pick in the lottery (now that would be funny). When a guy has the skills of Irving the questions become about mental makeup — is he tough enough, does it want it bad enough.

DraftExpress’ Jonathan Givony told the USA Today Irving answered those questions.

“What we can learn about Kyrie Irving is that he is a very competitive guy. Many would have decided to sit out this tournament (after his foot injury), but he wanted to help his team.”

Irving is maybe the one franchise-changing guy in this draft. He’s a point guard, a position that in the current “no hand checking” NBA is key. He’s a solid 6’2” with good passing skills. He also can score — he showed that Thursday night in Duke’s loss to Arizona hitting 9-of-15. More importantly, his decisions on when to shoot and when to pass seemed solid. He could get more looks and force shots, but he wasn’t doing that. He as making the right play.

Irving also looked like a guy who could be a solid NBA defender. No Duke player was defending well — that is why they lost — but his lateral quickness was there and he seemed to be playing well inside the Duke defensive system.

Two other guys who appear to have boosted their stock a little in the tournament:

Arizona forward Derrick Williams. A lot of people just did not see him out West this year. (Williams was a USC recruit who backed out of his commitment to that school when the O.J. Mayo sanctions came down on the program, so he switched to Arizona.) The guy is a very efficient scorer — he had 32 against Duke on just 17 shots and hit 5-of-6 threes. The concern was at the NBA level he is a tweener at the forward spots, but guys who can score like this find their way.

Connecticut guard Kemba Walker. He didn’t turn scouts heads much at summer programs but his game has taken a big leap forward this season. He dropped 36 on San Deigo state, hitting 12-of-25 shots and half his threes. His crossover and step back are wicked. He brings tremendous energy. He may not be a Derrick Rose/John Wall type of talent, but name a team that does not need a solid play at the point.

Who goes No. 1 in the NBA Draft?

Perry Jones, Lance Feurtado
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If you had asked “Who is going No. 1 in the 2011 NBA draft?” before the college basketball season started, the consensus was North Carolina’s freshman Harrison Barnes.

Except Barnes is shooting 38.2 percent this season and 29.3 percent from three. He has not lived up to the hype and is sliding down the boards (although not far, DraftExpress has him at No.3).

Replacing him in the consensus top spot was Kyrie Irving of Duke, the freshman handling the decisions for the nation’s number one team. He is shooting 45.2 percent from three and 58.7 percent inside the arc. He looks like the kind of point guard that can run an NBA team.

Except Coach Mike Krzyzewski announced on his “Basketball and Beyond with Coach K” show on XM Radio this week that Irving may out for the season with a toe injury. Which is likely to hurt his draft stock.

So who is No. 1?

(Yes, there will be a draft even if there is a lockout. The draft at the end of June comes before the expiration of the current Collective Bargaining Agreement. However, no draft pick can be signed until after July 1 — when the lockout will happen — so they will live in a bit of limbo.)

Predicting now is a bit of guesswork, this was always a pretty wide-open class and recent performances have made it more so. The smart money now is on Perry Jones of Baylor. The power forward has long been considered maybe the best long-term prospect in the class because GMs always love bigs. He has been good but not “nobody is taking the top spot from me” good so far.

So guys like Kentucky’s newest greatest freshman Terrence Jones or overseas players such as Jonas Valenciunas or almost-Kentucky player (except he played as a pro already) Enes Kanter have a shot.

Basically, it’s wide open. This season the draft has quality but not the clear-cut, John Wall type of “this guy is No. 1 no question” type of guy.

Which has positives for us fans — this season, the games (and post-season workouts) will matter more than ever. Just don’t be too sure about who is the top pick.