Cleveland Cavaliers point guard Kyrie Irving is expected to be named National Basketball Association (NBA) Rookie of the Year by the league on May 14.
ESPN, citing sources familiar with the voting process, said that the 20-year-old Australian-American out of Duke University will become just the fourth overall No. 1 draft pick throughout the last decade to take the award.
The other three No. 1 draft picks named Rookie of the Year are Los Angeles Clippers forward Blake Griffin (rookie class of 2010-’11), Chicago Bulls guard Derrick Rose (’08-09 rookie class) and three-time league MVP Miami Heat forward LeBron James from the 2003-’04 rookie class.
Irving was drafted by Cleveland after playing only 11 games as a freshman for Duke in 2010-11. He missed most of his freshman season due to a serious toe injury. He missed 15 games of action as a rookie for Cleveland but still dazzled fans when he did play, averaging 18.5 points, 5.4 assists and 3.7 rebounds in 51 games played.
By winning Rookie of the Year honors, Irving has perhaps given Cleveland fans confidence that he is the right man to replace LeBron James as the face of the Cavs’ franchise.
Other players/coaches honored by the NBA this week include New York Knicks center Tyson Chandler (Defensive Player of the Year); Orlando Magic forward Ryan Anderson (Most Improved Player of the Year); Oklahoma City Thunder guard James Harden (6th Man of the Year), and San Antonio Spurs head coach Gregg Popovich (Coach of the Year).