Kyrie Irving To Be Named NBA “Rookie of the Year”
After playing in just 11 games in his only season at Duke, Irving rewarded Cleveland’s faith in selecting him with the No. 1 overall pick in the 2011 NBA draft by averaging 18.5 points, 5.4 assists and 3.7 rebounds in 51 games.
Irving, who didn’t even turn 20 until March 23, also shot the ball better as a rookie than many scouts projected, registering shooting percentages of .469 from the field and .399 from 3-point range. Irving’s performance quickly established him as Cleveland’s new franchise player in the Cavaliers’ second season without LeBron James.
Rookie of the Year is the last major individual award that has yet to be officially announced by the league office. Miami’s James collected his third career MVP trophy Sunday, joining Orlando’s Ryan Anderson (Most Improved Player), New York’s Tyson Chandler (Defensive Player of the Year), Oklahoma City’s James Harden (Sixth Man Award) and San Antonio’s Gregg Popovich (Coach of the Year) on the NBA’s list of honorees for the 2011-12 season.
By Marc Stein