Opinion: Kyrie Irving off to Kobe-like start

Ty Sugick

Ty Sugick

Ty Sugick

Although it’s hidden behind the World Series hype, the Cleveland Cavaliers are off to a 4-0 start in the 2016-17 season. The team is on a quest to repeat last year’s championship run, as they broke the long championship drought in Cleveland and are hungry for more.

Although October and early November belong to baseball, it’s time to take notice of the Cavs and their early season success. The fan base needs to turn its eyes to the monstrous play of Kyrie Irving.

The Golden State Warriors — a real life League of Villains — and their newest member Kevin Durant have overshadowed Cleveland’s historic championship run.

This Warriors super team probably thought that they may have created something that would be unbreakable, but all they’ve gotten in return is a better version of Irving.

Irving is leading the Cavs in scoring, currently; he’s averaging 26.3 points and four assists per game through the team’s first four games. I know it’s super early in the season, but Irving and the Cavs seem to be in midseason form.

If you take a look at future Hall of Famer Kobe Bryant’s MVP season in 2007-2008, where he averaged 28 points, five assists and six rebounds per game, Irving’s start is similar — albeit he falls short in a few statistical categories.

The major difference is that Kobe was the marquee player on that 2007 Lakers team, minimally sharing the ball with Pau Gasol, Derek Fisher and Lamar Odom.

Irving is still second fiddle to LeBron James, but he is no longer embracing the second man role, and is now adopting a bit-time mentality. He is getting buckets and serving crossovers at will to whoever wants to challenge him, and he is unapologetic about it.

This mindset is what fans have been waiting for since drafting the 6’3” guard out of the Duke University, and it is just what the doctor ordered in response to the Warriors’ super team in Oakland.

Do not be surprised when Irving finishes the season as the Cavs’ team leader in points and one of the top players in the MVP discussion. And, at just 24 years old, don’t be surprised if he starts drawing comparisons to some of the greats.

Ty Sugick is a columnist, contact him at [email protected].