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Report: Cavs teammates ‘puzzled’ by Kyrie Irving’s lack of assists


With LeBron James sitting out for a scheduled rest in the Cleveland Cavaliers facing the Dallas Mavericks on Wednesday night, Kyrie Irving took over, scoring a game-high 33 points in a 99-98 victory.

While his Cavaliers teammates presumably were pleased to win the game with James out, reports indicate they weren’t pleased with how Irving only managed one assist in 39 minutes, with the characterization they “were in disbelief” over it.

Furthermore, it appears that the Cavaliers have had it with his inability to dish out more assists overall, not just in Wednesday’s win.

The Cleveland Plain Dealer‘s Chris Haynes described the scene afterward in the locker room.

After the game, a few players were puzzled to how their point guard managed to register one assist while playing 39 minutes. They were frustrated, but the win and Irving’s huge defensive play lessened the anger.

The notion within the locker room is that the situation is tolerable, because it isn’t permanent. If the Cavaliers were dealt the misfortune of playing without James for an extended period, this locker room would be boiling over.

Players are growing tired of Irving’s inability to not only register a proper amount of assists at the lead guard position, but also to just move the ball.

As noted by Eye on Basketball’s James Herbert, stats indicate Irving did pass the ball 62 times and had 104 touches, both of which were more than any other player. But the statistics show he had only eight potential assists, which means Irving would have registered an assist had the teammate made the shot.

To further illustrate Irving’s arguably sub-par assist statistics, Pro Basketball Talk’s Dan Feldman compiled the following rundown showing how the point guard measures up league-wide to other players at his position.

  • Assists per game: 25th (4.5)
  • Assists per 36 minutes: 24th (5.2)
  • Potential assists per 36 minutes: 24th (12.8)
  • Potential assists per game: 25th (10.9)
  • Passes per 36 minutes: 28th (58.3)
  • Passes per game: 26th (49.9)
  • Percentage of touches ending in pass: 24th (68.5%)
  • Seconds per touch: 10th (4.7)
  • Dribbles per touch: 12th (4.7)

The numbers certainly are telling, indicating that Wednesday’s performance by Irving was more representative of the norm than it was an aberration. With all the talk of chemistry issues and James’ proclivity for posting cryptic tweetsnot to mention the purported rift between James and Irving — it’s amazing to realize a team that appears somewhat dysfunctional nevertheless stands atop the Eastern Conference.