Kyrie Irving is the Eastern Conference’s Second-Best Player

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Kyrie Irving
DENVER, CO - JANUARY 29: Kyrie Irving (11) of the Boston Celtics waits for action to resume against the Denver Nuggets during the second half of the Celtics' 111-110 win on Monday, January 29, 2018. The Denver Nuggets hosted the Boston Celtics at the Pepsi Center in Denver. (Photo by AAron Ontiveroz/The Denver Post via Getty Images)

Boston Celtics point guard Kyrie Irving has taken his play to a different level since the All-Star break in February. The superstar guard has officially established himself as the second-best player in the Eastern Conference, behind only his former teammate, Cleveland Cavaliers forward LeBron James.

Kyrie Irving is the East’s Second-Best Player

Irving has totally outdone himself this season, posting astronomical numbers, and even better numbers since the All-Star break.

According to ESPN’s Chris Forsberg, in the four games prior to Saturday night’s loss to the Houston Rockets, Irving averaged 27 points, six rebounds, and six assists per game. He shot 53.8 percent from the field and 52.3 percent from three-point land in that span. Irving has achieved these eye-popping numbers in only 28.5 minutes per game.

This season, Irving has proven that he is, in fact, the second best player in the Eastern Conference. He’s been able to lead the Celtics to a 44-20 record thus far. People could make the case for Giannis Antetokounmpo or John Wall. But the numbers do not lie.

According to basketball-reference, Irving is the youngest player in NBA history to join the 30-30-60 club: a 30 percent assist rate, 30 percent usage rate, and 60 percent true shooting percentage. Irving joins players such as LeBron James, Stephen Curry, Isaiah Thomas, James Harden, and Michael Jordan in that club.

Irving has dealt with plenty of adversity in his first season in Boston. The Celtics lost their marquee free agency signing, Gordon Hayward, with a major injury just minutes into the season. Irving has been forced to rely on rookie Jayson Tatum, second-year player Jaylen Brown, and defensive-minded (but offensively challenged) guard Marcus Smart.

Irving and the Celtics have beaten the Cavs, the Rockets, and even the defending champions, the Golden State Warriors.

Of course, it seems almost like a guarantee that Harden will win the MVP award this season. However, this should not deter from the fact that Kyrie Irving has had an MVP-caliber season.

 

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