The point guard has spent the last two and a half years – his entire NBA career – losing. The Cleveland Cavaliers were a mess after LeBron James departed and Irving was step one of the rebuilding process. The problem is, the process continues to hit snags.
Those in charge of the Cavaliers have made questionable choices since making Irving the number-one overall pick in the 2011 draft. The team was expected to contend for the playoffs this season, but currently sit on the outside looking in with a record of 16-30.
Irving has had a down season, averaging 21.6 points, 6.1 assists, and 2.6 turnovers per game while shooting under 43% from the field.
Jason Lloyd of the Akron Beacon Journal sat down with Irving after practice yesterday to discuss the issues and the point guard was quite frank with him that he does not have all the answers and that this season has been a challenge.
"I needed this," Irving told Lloyd. "It was more or less a wake-up call. I got away with so much my first two years. It wasn't a breeze, but everything came easy. This is the first year where every single night it's going to be a challenge. That's one of the things I'm getting used to and I've accepted."
Rarely has Irving faced much adversity during his career, so this all a new experience for him. Head coach Mike Brown asked Irving to be a leader on this team, but as he points out, he is the third-youngest player on the team.
"I just feel like what people fail to realize is I don't have all the answers all the time," Irving said. "I'm still the third-youngest on this team. I'm a 21-year old kid trying to figure this whole thing out. It's a daily job and that's probably why it's been one of the toughest years for me. I'm learning every single day,"
Irving makes some valid points. He is only 21 and has more responsibilities than most at that age. The problem is, he is also getting paid millions of dollars a year to play a sport and is expected to perform. He is not the first, nor will he be the last, young player to be the leader and star of his team.
There is no doubting Irving's talent. He will be a starter in this year's All-Star game because he is one of the best point guards in the league. He must overcome his issues of leading a bad team if he wants to be successful. There will be adversity throughout his career and he'll need to be able to tackle each issue as it comes.
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