While guys like Chris Paul and Rajon Rondo are the best point guards in the league right now, in five years things will be different. The best point guards today will be getting old, and the young guns of 2012 will be the stars. The best of those “young guns” are Kyrie Irving and Ricky Rubio. Both rookies in 2012, they proved that they are the next batch of point guard superstars in the league. But who’s better between the two? Read below to find out.
Once you’ve done that, vote on the poll at the bottom of the article. Make sure you vote wisely, because the winner of the debate gets $5.
[one_half] By: Charlie DiSturco
The Cleveland Cavaliers have struck gold in the 2011 NBA Draft, when they drafted Kyrie Irving with the first overall pick. Considered the best young point guard in the NBA, Irving won the NBA Rookie of the Year with ease. But who is the best young point guard in the NBA: Ricky Rubio or Kyrie Irving? My vote is for Irving, who I believe has more potential to become a star. Coming off an injury-shortened season, I do not believe Rubio will be as effective as he would have been. Here is why I believe Kyrie Irving is best young point guard in the NBA, and is better then Ricky Rubio:
A huge quality that is present in Kyrie Irving’s game is his leadership. Irving came into a ‘dying franchise’ in the Cavaliers, who were dealing with the loss of LeBron James. In just one year, he has taken over the face of the franchise. Kyrie Irving will continue to lead his team, and not only win more games but also attract other Free Agents to Cleveland.
In this new ‘Era of the Point Guard’ many guards like Irving are able to score and run their offense. Kyrie Irving’s athleticism affects him to penetrate which makes his ability to shoot from deep range that much more effective. Kyrie shot right around 40% from downtown, which is the second best among point guards behind Stephen Curry. Kyrie was able to score 18 points per game, along with a 47% FG percentage. He has the whole package when it comes to offense, being an effective scorer and distributor at the point guard position. As he matures and grows, his game all around will continue to improve. Remember, he only played one partial season for Duke before going pro.
Expectations were very high for Kyrie Irving, as he was expected to adapt right into the ‘star’ of the team along with replacing LeBron James as well. Many players can’t fit right into the role that Kyrie has been put into and occasionally they crumble under pressure, but Kyrie easily passed this challenge. Kyrie led the Cavs to an improved record without a great supporting cast and he showed his abilities to take over the games and come up in the clutch for the Cavs.
Creation Ability: Despite having six players on his team that had been from the D-League over their career, Kyrie still managed to average about 5 assists per game. Irving had no scoring talent on his team, but was still managing to average very solid numbers. As the Cavs get more talented expect to see his assists increase significantly.
Overview: Kyrie Irving has quickly risen up as a Top 10 PG in the NBA. At just 20 years old, Kyrie has so much potential. His ability to improve his team the wake of LeBron’s departure is an amazing accomplishment. His scoring ability and boldness also show he is NBA ready, and that he is going to dominate the competition in a few years. Although it will be tough, he will be better than any other young point guard in the NBA, including Ricky Rubio and Damian Lillard. [polldaddy poll=6494373] [/one_half]
[one_half_last] By: Darryl Fetz
Kyrie Irving won the 2011-12 Rookie of the Year award, but if I was starting an NBA team my young point guard choice would be Ricky Rubio. Irving scores more than Rubio but in other statistics and in the intangibles Rubio has the edge.
Rubio began playing professionally at 14 and played in the EuroLeague, Europe’s highest basketball league at age 16. Irving only played one season in college, and only played in 11 games at Duke. Rubio’s experience already gives him an advantage with managing a team and playing at a high level.
On the offensive side, Rubio is a pure point guard while Irving is a new style hybrid point guards. Irving is a better scorer but Rubio can run a team better. Passing is the category in which Rubio blows Irving away. Rubio averaged 8.2 assists while Irving tallied 5.4. Via 82games.com, Rubio had 3.5 assists per bad pass last season while Irving came in at 3.2.
Rubio also turns the ball over less and commits fewer offensive fouls than Irving, meaning he has more chances to get the assists that he has been known for this season. Bad shooting nights are common in the NBA, and when that happens I would much rather have Rubio playing for my team than Irving. Rubio is such a versatile player and does much more than score. If he is having an off-night, he can take charges and hassle the opposing ball handler while dishing out assist and getting him team involved.
On defense Rubio also holds the edge. Even though most think of Rubio as a small quick point guard, he is bigger than Irving and plays tougher defense. His size allows him to body up smaller guards and be a pest to bigger ones. He averaged one more steal per game than Irving and pulled down more rebounds as well.
Beyond the statistics, Rubio is still the better point guard. If someone needs to take the last shot I would give it to Irving. If someone is going to run a team, Rubio is the choice. His style of play makes his teammates love to play with him. His ability to see the floor is among the best in the league, and his passes are a staple on highlight shows. He knows how to get it to his teammates exactly where they want it, which ends up giving them more confidence on offense. With Alexy Shved and Andrei Kirilenko joining the Timberwolves, Rubio will have even more weapons on offense.
Kyrie Irving is a great young player and a burgeoning young star in the league. While he is a great scorer, Rubio just brings so much more to the table. Playing the pure point guard role, Rubio embraces his team and can not achieve success without them.
When starting a team you need a player that teammates will gravitate to and can increase the abilities of everyone on the team. His passing, playmaking and leadership make Ricky Rubio the perfect choice. His court vision has shades of Steve Nash, but Rubio plays better defense. Combined with his improving shooting and experience playing in Europe, Rubio is the best young point guard in the game, and is definitely a better player then Irving. [/one_half_last]