When Mike Brown envisioned Kyrie Irving playing a little shooting guard this season the idea was to place him alongside veteran Jarrett Jack. That was temporarily derailed this preseason since Jack has missed more than a week with a little swelling in his knee but it hasn’t deterred Brown from his plan.

Instead he is using Irving alongside third-string point guard Matthew Dellavedova for short stretches. The idea is to bring Irving off screens a little more and take advantage of his jump shot which Brown agreed Tuesday is probably the best on the team.

“For the first time in my three years I can actually play there comfortably now” Irving said of the shooting guard role. “I know all the positions on the floor especially from the 2 spot. It allows me to not exert so much energy dribbling the ball especially at the top of the key.”

Irving said the players go through drills every day at practice where he is playing off the ball.

“Me being at the 2 spot just opens up the lane for our bigs and our shooters in the corner” he said.

To be clear Brown is only viewing this as a small part of the offense. Irving is still the point guard on this team with the potential to be one of the best in the league — perhaps as soon as this season if he continues to progress defensively.

Irving’s 12 assists in Tuesday’s preseason win over the Philadelphia 76ers would’ve equaled his career high had it occurred during the regular season. He put the entire Sixers defense on skates at various points of the game. Undrafted rookie Rodney Williams crumpled to the ground at one point a victim of Irving’s ball-handling. Irving previously had the Columbus crowd howling with his crossover that sent lottery pick Michael Carter-Williams shifting in the wrong direction as Irving sliced through the middle of the Sixers’ defense.

His stock is soaring across the league too. In the annual NBA.com poll of league general managers Irving received a vote for the player teams would most want to build a franchise around today. LeBron James was the overwhelming favorite followed by Kevin Durant. Then came Irving.

He was not however selected in the same poll as one of the game’s top three point guards. That went to the Los Angeles Clippers’ Chris Paul the Chicago Bulls’ Derrick Rose and the San Antonio Spurs’ Tony Parker.

Still Brown has been pleased with the pairing of Dellavedova and Irving. Presumably it will work even better when Jack returns considering he is entering his ninth season and Dellavedova is an undrafted rookie.