2011 NBA Draft Combine Coverage: How Kyrie Irving Compares to John Wall and Derrick Rose - June 23
It's only natural to compare Duke and soon-to-be Cleveland Cavaliers point guard Kyrie Irving to the Washington Wizards' John Wall and the Chicago Bulls' Derrick Rose. After Thursday evening, it will mark three years in a row that a point guard went first overall, so this juxtaposition of the three franchise floor generals will continue on for many years.
Irving has been as good as advertised in his 11 college basketball games at Duke, similar to what John Wall brought to the floor at Kentucky in 2009-10. Offensively, he can do it all and shows a tremendous skill set for a young point guard.
Irving hung out with Wall at the NBA lottery, and met him during his official Kentucky visit. Irving articulated the advice Wall gave him.
"He just told me to keep my head high when I go through rookie ups-and-downs, and just enjoy the draft process," Irving revealed.
What about comparing himself to Derrick and John?
"I just try to emulate from afar, they're really special players, and I want to be as special, or close, in that range in my early career as they are right now," Irving said at the NBA Draft Combine in Chicago.
Rose, along with Chauncey Billups and Chris Paul, are the players Irving watches closely as potential role models.
"Chris Paul is my favorite NBA player," Irving said. "The most important thing I try to emulate from Chris is the way he carries himself on and off the court. I just think he's a good person and a good NBA player."
Irving really has a mixture of attributes of a lot of NBA point guards but can probably closely be compared to Paul (not Wall or Rose). Irving is further along as a scorer at this point in his career but is not the distributor that Paul has become. Either way, this high of a comparison backs up my thought that Irving can be an elite NBA point guard like Paul.
Cleveland is both a city and a basketball team badly in need of a "face of the franchise."
"I definitely think about filling the void, but I just want to contribute as best I can and be as prepared as I can be," Irving said about the potential of being Cleveland's marquee player.
Irving has been to Cleveland twice for the Lebron Skills Academy, and he has a friendship with the self-ascribed "King."
Even though they play different positions, and their games are completely different, the fact that both will/have spent some time in the lime light as Cleveland's signature player means they will undoubtedly be compared to one another at some point. Look at all the unfair and unnecessary Rose-Michael Jordan comparisons out there.
Despite this, Irving is ready for the expectations.
"Duke definitely prepared me for this high profile moment," he said. "Even though it's a small gym. All eyes were on Duke for the 11 games I played."