Re-Drafting the 2011 NBA Draft Using Advanced Analytics
Up until this season, there weren't a lot of people talking about Kyrie Irving in the same way that most do today.
In his first two seasons in the league -- after being drafted first overall in 2011 -- the Duke product missed a combined 54 games due to injury. In other words, Irving missed the equivalent of nearly two-thirds of an entire NBA season. Let that sink in.
It was at that time that analysts, critics, and fans began to question Irving's longevity. Then, one thing led to another, and before you knew it people were questioning other qualities of Irving's game such as his work ethic and drive to win.
It wasn't until Irving's third NBA season that he start to show signs of superstardom -- albeit on a very subpar Cleveland Cavaliers squad. But, then LeBron happened. Prior to the start of the 2014-15 season, King James announced his return to Cleveland to pursue a championship alongside the young floor general.
That year, the 22-year-old Irving scored 21.7 points and dished out 5.2 assists per game in 75 games. And it was also then that Irving got his first taste of the NBA Playoffs, where he scored 19 points per game in 13 contests before fracturing his knee cap in Game 1 of the Finals.
Once again, naysayers murmured, "Can Kyrie be the Robin to LeBron's Batman?" They were answered just a year later.
Not only did Irving help James win one for The Land, but he has also earned an Olympic gold medal after averaging 11.4 points and 4.9 assists for a perfect 8-0 USA squad.
Now knowing what you know, if you're Cleveland, would you do anything differently? Does this year confirm that Kyrie was the right choice just five summers ago?
Let's see what the numbers say.