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Kyrie Irving wants to take on bigger defensive role, challenge top point guards

John Wall, Kyrie Irving

John Wall, Kyrie Irving


Just to roll it backwards for you on the Cavaliers: Saturday night Toronto’s Kyle Lowry had 23 points and 8 assists; the night before that John Wall had 28 and 7; a couple of games before that Ty Lawson had 24 and 12. I could go on but you get the picture. Elite point guards are putting up numbers on the Cavs.

Kyrie Irving was not on those guys all that time (he was not on Wall at any point, Joe Harris was), but it’s safe to say he’s been part of the problem, not part of the solution with the Cleveland defense. Flat out the Cavaliers are not a good defensive team (ranked 19th in the league so far), their energy on that end is inconsistent (to put it kindly) and there is no communication going on. This is a team that lacked great individual defenders then compounded the situation with their lack talking and sloppy rotations.

Irving wants to take the lead in fixing that by taking on more defensive responsibilities against top point guards — starting with going against Wall Wednesday night, he told Chris Haynes of the Northeast Ohio Media Group.

“Based on the lineup, whatever our team needs, if one person gets going whether it be the one or two, I’m going to guard them,” Irving said. “It’s just more or less a personal challenge. It takes a team effort to guard everybody and for me, I’m either on the one or the two. We just have to figure that out….

“I told them that whenever I have a chance to guard the point guards, just leave me on him and we have our two guards guard the twos,” he revealed. “I just have to do the job at stopping the head of the snake.”

Based on history, a lot of top point guards in the league just started drooling.

But good on Irving for trying to step up. You have to like the attitude, we’ll see about the outcome.

Irving is not a good man defender, but the bigger problem is that stopping an elite guard like Wall or Lowry or whomever has to be a team effort — with no hand checking on the perimeter top guards can’t easily be stopped, no matter how quick you are. Kyrie Irving can’t stop Kyrie Irving, just like Wall couldn’t stop Wall. It takes a coordinated team effort.

The Cavs have been nowhere near that this season and the Wizards exposed that badly last meeting. They may again tonight.