Prior to the Cavaliers 99-96 loss to the New Jersey Nets on Friday night, I caught up with former Cavaliers Head Coach and current living legend Mike Fratello. I asked the Coach of the Ukraine National Team and Czar of The Telestrators what his opinions were of Kyrie Irving so far this season, as well as what other players he’d compare Kyrie’s game too.
That conversation is below:
StepienRules: Based on what you’ve seen so far, can you just offer your opinions on Kyrie Irving and his play so far?
Mike Fratello: I think they’re [Cavaliers Organization] very happy that they selected the young man. You try to do your homework, and do your research, but you never know until you actually get him there. And here he is, and they’ve seen the kind of talent that he has, he seems to be a very mature person for his age, and he has a very, very bright future. So Cleveland has one piece that they can move forward with now, use that as a cornerstone, and hopefully add other pieces around him.
StepienRules: Over the years, who would you compare his game too as far as other Point Guards?
Mike Fratello: Kapper, Kapper, his game is like Kapper’s game, you and Kyrie.
StepienRules: Oh, okay, that would be Tim over here with Nets radio?
Tim With Nets Radio aka Kapper: My game is very solid.
Mike Fratello: You know, I don’t know who I would compare him to really. I think it’s better if we let him get his own identity, and down the road let somebody say his game is like Kyrie Irving’s. Because, what do you want to say, want to say he’s a Chris Paul type guard? I don’t know that yet. I’d like to see this kid get his own way, develop his own reputation, and then let people try to be like him.
NJ at CLE Post-Game Notes: I appreciated Coach Fratello’s time pregame, and I also couldn’t help but appreciate the way the young guard we talked about finished Friday’s game in the final minutes of that 4th quarter too. Kyrie had a tough time from the jump defensively on Deron Williams, kinda couldn’t guard him at all really, and I think he let those struggles on the defensive end of the floor affect his offensive game for the first three quarters Friday. He moved past all that in the 4th quarter though, and the kid exploded for 21 of his career high 32 points on the night in the final period. In those last three minutes specifically, he scored 17 of them.
You can say that the game was over by then though maybe, or that the Nets aren’t too good, or that the last three minutes of a game can’t erase what happened in the first 45 minutes before that, and all of that might be true. Okay actually it is true, the Cavs still lost, collectively they didn’t come out all that excited about playing a basketball game, and it was a pretty tough watch all the way around for three quarters. BUT, all that happened and the rookie point guard still learned from his mistakes before the game even ended, and finished up a three point loss with a stat line that reads 32 points on 12 of 20 shooting, 6 rebounds, 2 assists, and only 1 TO. This season particularly, it’s progress like that which makes losses like this pretty easy to handle. Hashtag in my opinion.