Cavaliers point guard Kyrie Irving is entering his 4th year in the NBA. For his career, the Duke standout has averaged over 20 points and five assists per game on collossaly bad Cleveland basketball teams. Now paired up with NBA legend LeBron James, and former Minnesota power forward Kevin Love, the possibilities are endless for Irving and the Cavs.

However, this year will be different.

This summer, Kyrie Irving and many other super stars are participating in the FIBA World Cup, a tournament held for men’s national teams every four years.

The amount of work and energy that Kyrie Irving has spent on the game of basketball this summer is much more than any other off season in the past. Instead of the usual finesse adjustments, it’s full go all the time.  

Additionally, it’s pretty safe to say that the Cavs will be playing more than just the standard 82 game schedule. This team is poised for a deep threat into the playoffs, and that makes for a season over 100 games, 4,800 minutes of basketball.

Mix that with Irving’s consistent, yearly injury problems…and I’m nervous.

The initial fear was that Kyrie Irving would get hurt. Despite a hard fall against Ukraine, he has stayed healthy. Barring any injuries these next two games to close out the tournament, and he’ll be clear of FIBA. Now, it’s about endurance and stamina.

Three questions:

1. Can Kyrie Irving stay healthy throughout the whole season?

This doesn’t have much to do with FIBA as it does Irving’s injury-ridden past. BUT, and this is a big BUT…Fatigue can play a factor in injuries. During the closing stretches of the season and into the playoffs injuries are the only thing that can ruin the Cavaliers. By playing in FIBA basketball, it is my belief that Kyrie Irving has a greater chance of getting injured.

2. Late in the season, will Kyrie Irving be as effective as usual?

In one calendar year Kyrie Irving will have played in close to 120 games of basketball. Simply put, that’s a lot. Luckily, this year his minutes will be lessened because of the fire power that is around him. However, when it gets to the gritty postseason, Kyrie is going to need his legs under him. Will that happen? Not sure. He could be out of gas.

3. Has FIBA basketball made Kyrie Irving into a better player?

I believe this is the one positive of the whole summer experience. He will definitely come back to Cleveland as a more skilled point guard. He also will have some newly-acquired leadership traits by being around so many greats of the game. Thus far in the tournament, he’s averaged 9.3 points per game on 52 percent shooting. Excellent numbers that show just how efficient he is playing.

When Kyrie Irving comes back to Cleveland, expect a better basketball player. Moreover, expect a better leader. On the other hand, be wary of Kyrie Irving losing steam towards the end of the season. Something that may hinder a Cavaliers quest for the title.

Hoping for the best.

-Zach Shafron

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