First-year point guard Kyrie Irving is proving to be the antidote to the acute atrophy of the Cavaliers’ title hopes following LeBron’s departure. Irving was named NBA Eastern Conference Rookie of the Month for January. The former Dukie and first overall pick in the 2011 Draft leads his freshman class with 18.1 points per game and is shooting 51 percent from the floor.
After finishing at the bottom of the heap last season, Cleveland is currently ninth in the East and could challenge for one of the last playoff spots this go-around thanks to Irving’s leadership on the court. I spoke with Stepien Rules founder Brendan Bowers about the rising superstar before the Nets’ 99-96 road win over the Cavs last week.