By: Kenny Roda
It’s horrible to see an NBA player’s season come to an end due to injury, especially an ACL tear like what happened to the Celtics Rajon Rondo. But as we all know, injuries are part of the game. So with Rondo, who was voted in as a starting guard for the Eastern Conference All Star Team out, and unable to play in the mid-season classic, that opens the door for someone else from the East to get the starting nod.
I say why not Kyrie Irving?
The decision will ultimately be made by the head coach of the Eastern Conference All Star squad, to be determined based on which team has the best record in the East by February 3, 2013. As of today (January 29th) it’s a three man race with Miami’s Erik Spoelstra leading the way by 1 ½ games over New York’s Mike Woodson and 3 games over the Nets P.J. Calesimo.
Chicago’s Tom Thibodeau is ineligible because he coached the East squad last year and you can’t coach in the All Star game in back-to-back years in the same conference.
Here’s my case for Irving getting the start over either Jrue Holiday of the 76ers or Paul George of the Pacers:
First off, you need to start another guard and Kyrie qualifies there. Secondly, Irving is the highest scoring point guard in the NBA and is 6th overall in scoring in the entire league at 24.2 points per game. That’s about five points higher than Holiday’s average and about seven points higher than George’s average. Third, Irving is an on the rise superstar coming off his rookie of the year campaign from a season ago and he continues impress fellow players, coaches and fans with his fearless play and spectacular ball handling and finishing ability, not only in games, but most importantly at the end of games.
Yes, he trails Holiday by about 3 assists per game on average, but makes up for it with his scoring and the fact that Irving is shooting better from the field, 3-point range and the free throw line than Holiday.
And my final reason why Irving should get the All Star start is, this is a showcase of the league’s best and most popular players.
Fans pay good money to see their favorites do special things in this game and “Uncle Drew” gets buckets and he does so in a flashy way. Don’t forget in last year’s Rising Stars Challenge game Irving put on a show by knocking down all eight of his 3-point shots on his way to 34 points and 9 assists and was named the game’s MVP. Give the fans what they want, and based on the fact that Irving finished 4th in the Eastern Conference All Star voting in the backcourt category, it sure seems like they’d want to see Irving as Rondo’s replacement as the starting point guard.
So, Coach “Whoever”, give the fans what they want and give Kyrie what he truly deserves.
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