NBA: 30 greatest playmakers in NBA history

(Photo by Adam Pantozzi/NBAE via Getty Images)
(Photo by Adam Pantozzi/NBAE via Getty Images) /
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Kyrie Irving, Cleveland Cavaliers, Boston Celtics
(Photo by Omar Rawlings/Getty Images) /

20. Kyrie Irving, Cleveland Cavaliers/Boston Celtics

Point guard Kyrie Irving hit the ground running in the league, earning the 2011-12 NBA Rookie of the Year award with the Cleveland Cavaliers. He averaged 18.5 points, 5.4 assists and 3.7 rebounds per game that rookie season.

He already has an NBA title under his belt by playing second fiddle to LeBron James. During the 2016 NBA Finals, it was Irving’s 3-point shot against the Golden State Warriors with 53 seconds left in Game 7 that proved to be the biggest shot in Finals history.

Irving has since then explored his own options as the lead playmaker of his own team with the Boston Celtics. Through 93 games in Boston, Irving has put up 24.0 points, 5.6 assists and 4.2 rebounds per game.

Irving isn’t a pass-first point guard, but his 49 percent shooting percentage from the field and 41 percent percentage from 3-point range tells some of the story. He’s one of the best playmakers in the NBA in isolation and it’s shown since he’s joined the Celtics. His points per game average is a career-high and his assist production remains steady despite the change of scenery.

As he searches for another NBA title with a favorite to win the Eastern Conference, Irving will need to really go into his bag of tricks and make some plays. Boston is currently fifth in the standings with a 21-15 record, which is something to keep an eye on as we head into the New Year.