Every great athlete at one point in their career takes the next step. They elevate their game that takes them to another place, puts them in that select category. Right now, we are witnessing Kyrie Irving taking himself to that next level. Kyrie is turning the corner, going from a young kid free-styling on the court like it was a pickup game to a man that clocks in when he steps on the court, ready to go to work.

Kyrie Irving’s game has elevated beyond what anyone has expected. After a tremendous playoff season, epic NBA Finals, and the start to an outstanding Olympic performance, Kyrie is showing us why he is one of the top players in the league. It wasn’t his coming out party, but during the playoffs Kyrie showed he can hang, averaging 25.2 points per game along with 4.7 assists. Yes, he was playing Robin to LeBron’s Batman but Kyrie put up those numbers. No one did it for him. During the Finals, Kyrie once again showed us how he was turning into one of the greats. With his team down 3-1, Kyrie turned it up in Game 5 scoring 41. The Warriors couldn’t contain, as Kyrie had his way with the defending champs by picking whatever spot he wanted and getting to it with ease for the bucket. The stellar performances would continue in games 6 and 7, most importantly in the deciding game 7. With a minute left in the NBA season, the game tied at 89 a piece, Kyrie took matters into his own hands. Swaying his dribble side to side, he pulled up for a clutch three pointer that gave the Cavs the lead and icing their NBA Championship. You don’t take that shot unless you know you’re going to make it. Kyrie’s momentum would carry over into the summer, being named the US team’s starting point guard, and leading them to dominance. The clutch shots would continue. He helped lead his team back after being down to a scrappy Australian team (ironically, Kyrie was born in Austrailia). Once again, he could not be contained driving to the basket and once again, he came up in the clutch. Draining another clutch three pointer to seal team USA’s victory.

According to a recent report from Bleacher Report, Team USA head coach Mike Krzyzewski (also Kyrie’s college coach) was quoted saying “When I saw Kyrie as a youngster, I told him, ‘You’re going to be a great guard. You could be the guard of your era.’” Bold statement I know, but not as crazy as you think. I absolutely stand by what Coach K said. At age 24, Kyrie has already made incredible strides in his game and it feels as if he is continuing to get better. As a rookie, Kyrie solely relied on his athleticism and handles to beat defenders and get to the rim. Now, after years of experience, Kyrie has put himself in amazing shape, and learned how to play both ends of the court. Not to mention, having LeBron James as a teammate and learning from him has to help your game. The 6’3 guard is one of the toughest to defend in the NBA. HIs jump-shot is lethal, and good luck trying to not let him into he paint. Last season, Kyrie was 51.3% from inside the paint. I can’t remember the last guard that beat his defenders into the paint with such ease and grace. Lets not forget his improved three point shooting either, shooting 32.9% from beyond last season; and that number is only going to go up. The insane handle and clutch shots speak for themselves, but the way he was able to run his team last season was a big part of his evolution. Kyrie was given the keys to the Porsche when it came down to it, ran an efficient offense and called the right plays while alongside the ultimate alpha (cough cough LeBron).

Kyrie Irving has all the tools to be one of the best in the league. He was the number one pick in the 2011 NBA Draft so no question scouts saw something. Right now though, we are seeing that “something” happen. Coming off an incredible performance in the playoffs and leading Team USA this summer, Uncle Drew’s game will be as strong as we’ve ever seen it. Factor in the swagger and confidence he has going, it is going to be something to see. When it’s all said and done, I believe Kyrie will be one of the best and I believe he will be the guard of this era. Everything is aligned. It’s time to go all in on Kyrie. What I’m trying to say is: buy the Kyrie stock. You won’t be disappointed.

 

-Griggs