Wednesday, January 4th, 2012 at 9:40 am  |  12 responses

Byron Scott Tells Kyrie Irving to Focus on Defense, ‘Relax’ on Offense

The top draft pick is pressing on the offensive end of the floor, and his coach Byron Scott wants the talented rookie to relax, and put his energies into stopping the opponent instead. Per the Charlotte Observer: “I told him, just relax and not worry about the offense. Just be aggressive defensively,’ Scott said Tuesday morning at the team’s training facility. ‘He’s doing a good job, just not such a good job offensively. I still have all the faith in the world in him. Play hard at the defensive end, and the offense will get better.’ Irving entered Tuesday night’s matchup with the Charlotte Bobcats shooting 39 percent from the field. He knew this would be a challenge, jumping to the NBA after just a handful of college games since he missed much of his freshman season at Duke with a foot injury. But he’s convinced he made the right choice, and that was partially about the bar coach Mike Krzyzewski set last season. “Coach K taught me how to be a professional – he runs a professional program. From our travel to our workouts,’ Irving said. ‘With coach Scott, our first practice was three hours. It was tough, but I was used to it. We had three-hour practices almost every day with Coach K. Coach K lets you know it’s going to be tough before the season ever starts. Once you get there and get used to it, it carries over to whatever level you go to.’ Irving left college basketball, but he never left Duke. When the NBA lockout dragged into the fall, he returned to Durham as a full-time student. He completed the fall semester and had the side benefit of high-quality pickup games. Irving and Nolan Smith would scrimmage against the current Blue Devils regularly. That kept him sharp through a time when the entire NBA season was in doubt. Cramming a 66-game season into a 123-day window has made the transition to the NBA a bit more challenging for rookies. Bobcats coach Paul Silas recently noticed Kemba Walker looking worn down, and had to remind himself the Bobcats would play 10 games within 14 days – equivalent to a third of a college season. ‘It’s a different pace,’ Irving said. ‘People try to compare the NBA to college basketball. It’s incomparable. Such quicker decisions, games (played) back-to-back. And that’s especially so for me. I haven’t played on a consistent basis for nine months (because of the injury and the lockout). I’m just getting back.’ That explains why Irving’s coach keeps offering that simple reminder: Chill out.”

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  • http://www.slamonline.com J

    Scott is the right man at the right time to be on Irving’s side.
    Byron Scott is great mentor.
    I think Kyrie’s proving doubters wrong so far, eh.
    I believe the kid is special. I’m so impressed with his poise, the kid is calm and collected everytime.

  • http://redoftoothandclaw.ca/ niQ

    @J what doubters? He was the first pick.

  • Vaughn Maynor

    @niQ True

  • http://slamonline.com The Black Rick Kamla

    ^^ actin ignorant, he’s had plenty doubters, and a bunch on this site too

  • Vaughn Maynor


  • http://www.slamonline.com J

    ^TBRK’s right.

  • neaorin

    I’m impressed so far. His shot will come with time, he will also learn the PG position but I’d say he needs to hit the gym. For now making him focus on D is the smart move.

  • zero

    Yeah Byrot scott is the best coach for Irving now. If im not mistaken Scott coach the hornets and Chris Paul became an Elite PG

  • T-Ray

    Yeah anyone who thinks he didn’t have doubters must not be paying attention. Some fols were saying they should have gotten Williams and Walker instead.

  • neaorin

    Also the Cavs have had a really soft schedule but it’s crazy that they are an uncontested layup away from being 4-1 right now. Fortunately a long road trip is coming up and that should add a little more to the L column. Ping pong balls baby – it’s the Cleveland way!

  • Startown

    Kyrie Irving is very good, so is D Williams. Both were good picks

  • robertmavs

    yeah scott is a great mentor for irving.he taught chris paul and baron davis become solid player in nba too.