MIAMI — Don’t call Kyrie Irving another LeBron James just because he’s also a No. 1 pick of the Cleveland Cavaliers. But if you want to call him another Chris Paul, that might be OK.
In fact, James said he sees plenty of similarities between the Cavaliers rookie point guard and Paul, the Los Angeles Clippers’ star point.
“He reminds me of CP early in his days, as well,” said James, the Miami Heat forward who will go against Irving on Tuesday night at AmericanAirlines Arena for the first time in his NBA career. “They definitely remind me of each other. Just how in control, and how they think the game. They show that you’re not in like a rookie mindset. You’re trying to put guys in a position to succeed. I’ve been looking forward to going against him. . . . He’s definitely beyond his years as a rookie point guard.”
James won’t be guarding Irving, but they will be the focal points for their teams. James leads the Heat with a 29.7 points and 7.3 assists per game. Irving tops the Cavaliers with 17.4 points and 4.9 assists.
But when it comes to talk about Irving filling a void in Cleveland from after James departed in the summer of 2010, Irving and James both shy away from that. James was asked if he sees any pressure on Irving, who is friendly with James and also has Leon Rose as an agent, in that role after being taken No. 1 overall in June’s draft.
“He has no pressure,” said James, who called facing his former team “just another game” as the Heat prepare to play a fifth straight game without guard Dwyane Wade, who has a sprained right ankle. “I think they’re kind of like in a rebuilding stage right now as far as their team. I don’t think he has any pressure.”