kyrie irving

“This season has been a special one for me,” Irving said on April 27, a day after the Cavs finished with a 21-45 record. “We overcame a lot of obstacles during the lockout-shortened season. It’s been a learning experience. I grew as a player from the mental standpoint, getting used to the NBA grind.”

Irving was such an overwhelming favorite to win the award, voted on by select media members, he addressed the topic with local reporters two weeks ago.

“If I do get it, it will be a great accomplishment for the city of Cleveland, my teammates and myself,” Irving said. “I couldn’t have done it without them. The confidence they had in me allowed me to be myself and play my game.

“If I do win it, I’ll take it home and put it with the other trophies I have.”

Irving becomes just the second Cavs’ recipient of the NBA honor. LeBron James, who like Irving was a top overall pick, won the award in 2004. But unlike James, he did not enter the league with a $90 million Nike deal and predictions of a can’t-miss career.

– Reported by Tom Reed of theĀ Cleveland Plain Dealer