Kyrie Irving’s Debut, And Other Thoughts From Friday Night In Detroit

Cleveland Cavaliers head coach Byron Scott, left, talks with guard Kyrie Irving (2) during the fourth quarter of an NBA preseason basketball game against the Detroit Pistons at the Palace in Auburn Hills, Mich. , Friday, Dec. 16, 2011.The Detroit Pistons are not a good team. In addition to the obvious qualifiers like Friday’s Cavs / Pistons match-up was a preseason game following a four month lockout featuring two Rookie PG’s essentially matched-up against each other, we can’t gloss over the fact that Detroit will be awful this season.  This first performance from Kyrie Irving in particular wasn’t against Derrick Rose, or his Bulls, it didn’t come in late February, and it will never be mentioned in the history of games he played in his NBA career either.

All that said…Kyrie Irving looked pretty awesome on Friday night though kinda, all things considering.

Sure he turned it over about 5 more times than he should have, but he resembled an actual Point Guard despite those mistakes in the process.  A true NBA PG, with not only the ability to see the floor and create for others, but also that uncoachable burst to explode up the floor and create for himself as well. I was tempering my enthusiasm pregame, and predicted a stat line that read 12 points, 5 assists, and 3 rebounds in 29 minutes for Kyrie last night.  A stat line Irving almost doubled.

He only shot the ball 28% from the field (4 of 14) but he finished the game’s leading scorer with 21 by connecting on over 84% of his FT’s (11 of 13) – something Mark Price used to do.  He grabbed 6 rebounds and dished out 3 assists while coming off the bench to spell Ramon Sessions, and I gotta think his days of coming off the bench are numbered.  I think he should start game one for sure on December 26th, but after that I will continue to temper my enthusiasm until Kyrie has the opportunity to string 20 or so more real games together.  If he looks like I think he’ll look after those 20 however, I will have an extremely difficult time tempering my enthusiasm from there.

Other Thoughts from Friday’s Cavs / Pistons Game:

Tristan Thompson is freakishly athletic.  We thought we knew that, but we definitely saw that Friday. He’s raw offensively to be sure, but he can attack the rim and will finish at it over people. I think he might be able to get to 10 points per night simply off rebounds, put-backs, and converting dimes he’s dropped while working on developing an actual post game in the process this season.  Skyenga had a rough night, I’ll be fair and admit that.  It was real rough in fact, and it came just when I was about to jump all over the fact that Alonzo Gee started and make a big deal about how the Sky Man should’ve started in his place.  I’m not going to do that right now though, because despite Gee going 0-7 from the floor, Christian also had a game-high 6 turnovers and that can’t happen either.  Christian will get better though, but regardless Alonzo Gee needs to stop starting soon.  Samardo Samuels also provided some quality big man minutes off the bench last night, and I think he’ll keep doing that this season too.  He may be undersized, but I expect him to play a combination of back-up Center and PF minutes for this team as the season goes on.  If he finishes with stat lines reading 15 points, 7 rebounds, 3 steals, and 2 blocks I’ll take that every time too. Lastly, I don’t see how Mycheal Thompson makes the team.  He did play 25 minutes last night and I did like that guy at Pepperdine, but even before he went 1 for 7 I didn’t see how he’d make it.  I also think Luke Harangody’s getting cut too.  He only play 5 minutes, and that’s without guys like Casspi, Gibson, and even Ryan Hollins getting in the game.  

This is the official announcement / reminder from the Cavs regarding Sunday’s Wine and Gold Scrimmage at 1pm down at Quicken Loans:

Just announced, the Cavaliers 2011-12 regular season is set to begin at home on Monday, December 26th vs. the Toronto Raptors, but not before the team hosts fans at The Q in grand fashion with a special edition of the annual Wine & Gold Scrimmage, presented by FirstEnergy Solutions, on Sunday, December 18th at 1:00 p.m. and a preseason game vs. the Detroit Pistons on Tuesday, December 20th at 7:00 p.m. The SPECIAL EDITION of the annual Wine & Gold Scrimmage will feature everything that makes attending a Cavaliers home game an incredible fan entertainment experience—AND IT’S FREE! In addition to the intra-squad scrimmage being the local introduction of the team, fans will be treated to the full-blown production of the Cavs’ award-winning game presentation featuring lights-out player introductions with Q-Tube flames.  The Cavaliers entertainment teams, the Cavalier Girls and Scream Team will perform, mascots Moondog and Sir C.C. will stir things up, and in-arena hosts Ahmaad and Nicole will oversee all the festivities. There will also be many other special fan activities and team interaction elements and giveaways both on and off the court during the afternoon.

“The start of the NBA season is just as much about the Cavs getting back on the court ready to work hard, as it’s about thanking our fans for the great relationship we have with them. We want them to know their loyalty and support is something we never take for granted and we understand it’s on us to continue to earn that support,” said Cavaliers and Quicken Loans Arena President Len Komoroski.  “Thanks to FirstEnergy Solutions for joining us and helping make this unique and incredibly fun afternoon possible for everyone.”

I’ll be down at the Q tomorrow for the scrimmage, and I’ll check back in here after that.  I didn’t mention the score to last night’s game for a reason too by the way.  I did that subliminally because it’s all about progress and growth right now.

Brendan Bowers

About Brendan Bowers

I am the founding editor of StepienRules.com. I am also a content strategist and social media manager with Electronic Merchant Systems in Cleveland. My work has been published in SLAM Magazine, KICKS Magazine, The Locker Room Magazine, Cleveland.com, BleacherReport.com, InsideFacebook.com and elsewhere. I've also written a lot of articles that have been published here.

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