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Kyrie's Big Opportunity

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The top pick in the NBA draft always gets some pressure, but in the case of Kyrie Irving, if he ends up being Cleveland's pick, there are some unique factors at work, among them:  Irving has a chance to be the anti-LeBron.

Cleveland fans have a special enmity for two players: first Carlos Boozer, and now, more intensely, LeBron James, who was a homestate guy people figured would stick around out of loyalty.

He didn't, and his disingenous Decision business thrilled no one. Arguably, it ripped the heart out of Cleveland.  So what would make that feel better?

Well, perhaps a fresh-faced 19-year-old who is unusually mature both on and off the court. As brilliant as Irving has been at times, a big part of what won Duke fans over so thoroughly was his personality:  his motto has been "hungry and humble," but he might have added "and nice kid" to that as well.

If he ends up there, he'll win the fans over in short order and his teammates too.  Assuming he is as good as he seems to be from here, he'll be the focal point for Cleveland's revival quite soon.

He's not LeBron, but that cuts both ways:  the way James left town was ugly and left a major scar.  Irving could wipe that trauma away by February, if he plays very well, then even sooner.  They will love him for being a great player, but even more for being a great person.

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