Any time you end up with the No. 1 pick in the NBA Draft, it happened for a reason. Either you made a brilliant trade with a foolish team, got incredibly lucky, or in the case of the Cleveland Cavaliers, you just flat out stunk the year before.
It has now been two years since the Cavs grabbed Kyrie Irving out of Duke. He has only played in 100 of the possible 133 games that Cleveland has played since the youngster has come to town, and he is going to be on the shelf for at least the next two weeks as well with a shoulder injury. What we’re finding out once again in this stretch is that Cleveland, when playing without Irving, once again still simply stinks.
The team without Irving on the court does look a heck of a lot better than the team that broke the NBA record for the longest losing streak in a season, but the squad is nowhere near being truly competitive. Cleveland has lost three of its four games without Irving in the fold during this shoulder injury, including getting dumped by 21 points at home on Monday night by the division-leading Indiana Pacers.
It’s easy to see why the Cavaliers are brutally missing their point guard, though. Not only is Irving the man that is routinely handling the basketball, but he is also the man that is doing the most scoring on the team and taking the most shots. Irving is averaging 23.0 points and 5.7 assists per game, and prior to his injury shoulder problem ,he had three straight games with at least 20 points under his belt.
Interestingly enough though, Cleveland is a better team on the NBA odds without Irving than it is with him. The squad is 9-7 ATS in the 16 games that the Duke product has missed this year, while it is 25-25-1 ATS when he is in the fold.