National Basketball Association

Has Kyrie Irving become underrated among his point guard peers?

May 17

Two former MVPs occupy space at Barclays Center, but neither one made history this season.

Kevin Durant and James Harden are the two most decorated members of the Brooklyn Nets' roster when it comes to individual accolades, but they weren't the stars of the show for the franchise this year.

That was none other than Kyrie Irving, a superstar in his own right who has nonetheless been deemed the third member of the Nets' "Big 3."

Irving had a career year with the Nets this season, averaging 26.9 points while shooting 50.6% from the field, 40.2% from 3-point range and 92% from the free-throw line.

Those numbers officially put his name among the likes of Larry Bird, Stephen Curry and his teammate Durant as the only players in NBA history to join the 50/40/90 club while averaging at least 25 PPG.

He is the ninth player in NBA history to record a season with 50/40/90 shooting percentages.

Of those nine, four have come in the past decade, with Durant's 2012-13 season with the Oklahoma City Thunder, Curry's 2015-16 season with the Golden State Warriors and Malcolm Brogdon's 2018-19 season with the Milwaukee Bucks.

Irving also scored at least 30 points in 18 of his 54 games played this season.

Upon Irving accomplishing the 50/40/90 feat, Durant was his biggest cheerleader, celebrating his teammate on the court …

… on Twitter …

… and in his postgame media conference.

Durant spoke about Irving being a threat to score from every spot on the floor, which makes him one of the hardest players to guard in the NBA.

"Phenomenal season from Ky. A guy who can get it from anywhere on the floor at any time at that size is remarkable."

But while Irving has been dominant on the court this season, he hasn't received the same public adoration as some of his point guard contemporaries who find themselves in the thick of the MVP conversation.

LeBron James, a former teammate of Irving's with the Cleveland Cavaliers, has publicly labeled Curry as his choice for league MVP honors this season after Curry carried the Golden State Warriors to the eighth seed in the Western Conference.

While Curry was recently crowned the NBA's scoring champion, his team is eighth in its conference, whereas the Nets have secured the 2-seed in the Eastern Conference playoffs.

Then there is the case of Chris Paul and the Phoenix Suns.

The Suns have the second-best record in the NBA, at 51-21, and with Paul onboard, they made the playoffs for the first time in 10 seasons, which has landed him in the MVP conversation. As Joy Taylor proclaimed on "First Things First," he might even be the favorite.

Compared to Paul, Irving is averaging more points and rebounds per game while shooting a better percentage from the field and from 3-point range.

Even so, the respect afforded to the league's other elite point guards has not been bestowed upon Irving — not even after his historic campaign and admittance to the 50/40/90 club.

At least his dominance has not gone unnoticed in his locker room, as he has been praised profusely by his teammates for his play this season.

The Nets have a chance to make a run to the Finals and potentially win it all this postseason.

If they do, Irving won't be flying under the radar much longer.

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