3. Stud - Kyrie Irving
After almost all of December, Kyrie Irving returned against the Utah Jazz on New Year's Day. However, Dallas and Irving failed to take advantage of a poor Jazz squad, losing by 37 points.
However, the Mavericks bounced back to handily defeat the Trail Blazers. And in that contest, Irving looked unstoppable. The former Blue Devil got his spots whenever he wanted.
Irving scored 29 points, making 10-of-19 field goal attempts. He also made four of his eight 3-pointers and only missed one free throw, going 5-of-6 on the night.
Besides the scoring output, Irving contributed nine rebounds, five assists, and two steals. He displayed excellent confidence and an exemplary all-around game against Portland.
The Duke product played well on and off the ball. The Doncic-Irving partnership had been heavily discussed all offseason long. Games like this prove Irving is capable of multiple roles.
He looked great as a cutter, pick-and-roll ball handler, and isolation scorer. Irving has demonstrated a willingness to spot-up and take on a secondary scoring role next Doncic.
But whenever the Mavs' MVP candidate is off the court or having an off night, Irving can take over in a sinch. Whenever Irving plays with this combination of efficiency and aggressiveness, he's extremely difficult to contain.