If the Cleveland Cavaliers needed any further validation that they selected the right player when they chose former Duke point guard Kyrie Irving with the first pick in the 2011 NBA Draft; they received it on Tuesday as “NBA.com” has reported that Irving was named the NBA Rookie Of The Year. The Cavaliers point guard dominated the voting as he received 117 out of 120 first place votes and ended up with 592 points, more than three times the amount of points that Minnesota Timberwolves Ricky Rubio captured as he finished in second place with 170 points.
It is the second time in less than a decade that a Cleveland player won the award, as former Cavaliers forward LeBron James received the honor for the 2003-2004 campaign. Irving also joins the Miami Heat All-Star in another select group of company, as he is the fifth number one pick in the Draft to average at least 18.0 points and 5.0 assists in his first season in the Association. The three other players were Oscar Robertson, Magic Johnson and Allen Iverson.
Irving restored hope to a fan-base that was reeling after James departed Cleveland to sign as a Free Agent in the Summer of 2010. The point guard not only survived a baptism by fire; as he was the starter at the point for his squad from the opening game, he flourished as he averaged 18.5 points and 5.4 assists per contest. He led all over rookie in scoring average, shooting percentage and from the charity stripe while ending up second in his class in assists and his shooting percentage from three-point range.
Timberwolves guard Rubio, who had his season cut short by injury came in second place in the voting with 170 points. Denver Nuggets big man Kenneth Faried was third as he captured 129 points, San Antonio Spurs forward Kawhi Leonard came in fourth place with 49 points and New York Knicks guard Iman Shumpert placed fifth as he received 33 points.