What was thought to be an on-the-verge choice has now become a reality. In just his second season in the NBA, Cleveland Cavaliers point guard has been selected as a reserve for the Eastern Conference All-Star Team. All week we have been arguing whether or not he deserved the start over Rajon Rondo or if he would make the roster in general, but we now know that Cleveland will be sending their shining star to Houston.
The starters for the Eastern Conference, which were announced last Thursday, are LeBron James, Carmelo Anthony, Dwyane Wade, Rajon Rondo and Kevin Garnett. Paul George, Jrue Holiday, Chris Bosh, Tyson Chandler, Luol Deng and Joakim Noah will be joining Irving on the bench as reserves. Regarding the Western Conference, the starters will be Kobe Bryant, Kevin Durant, Chris Paul, Dwight Howard and Blake Griffin. The reserves for the West are Tim Duncan, Tony Parker, Russell Westbrook, James Harden, Zach Randolph, LaMarcus Aldridge and David Lee.
The 62nd NBA All-Star Game will be held at Toyota Center, with tipoff set for Sunday, February 17 at 8:30 p.m. Last season Kyrie Irving hoisted the MVP trophy in Orlando, Florida after leading Team Chuck to a 146-133 victory over Team Shaq in the Rising Stars Challenge. Irving connected on all eight of his attempts from beyond the arc, finishing with 34 points. He will have the chance to show the nation his clear-cut handling skills, aggressiveness when going to the hoop, ability to create his own perimeter shots and precise backboard placement on a much bigger platform than last season.
Many thought it was a coming-out game for Irving when he lit it up from outside at the Rising Stars Challenge, but it wasn’t anything that Cleveland fans weren’t already used to. Due to the Cavaliers’ poor record over the past two seasons, they haven’t had any national airtime. Cleveland will, however, have a game on ESPN right after All-Star weekend against the New Orleans Pelicans at home. I’m not saying that there isn’t already buzz around the reigning Rookie of the Year, but this could potentially be a huge week for the humble point guard to put on an exposé.
Irving definitely deserved to make the All-Star Team this season, as he led all point guards in scoring. He is currently averaging 23.7 points, 5.7 rebounds, 3.6 assists and 1.8 steals, while shooting 46.7 percent from the field, 39.9 percent from three and 84.1 percent from the free throw line. He is doing this all while seeing 35.7 minutes of playing time per game. On the flip side, Irving has had his fair share of troubles with ball-handling and passing turnovers. He is currently averaging 3.7 gaffes, putting him at fourth-most in the Association. His team’s record (11-32) was also something that was really looked at when voting for the All-Stars, but a weak supporting cast and plethora of injuries is a contributing factor as well. His left index finger injury, which caused him to miss 11 games this season, also may have made it hard for fans (who selected the starters by vote total) and coaches (who selected the reserves from their particular conference) to choose Irving over other players (coaches were not allowed to vote for their own player).
Irving will be the first Cavalier to put on an All-Star uniform since the 2009-10 season, his last with the Cavaliers. It’s a new era, and I know that Kyrie will make everyone more than proud with his performance coming up in February. Congrats to the 20-year old for making gigantic strides in just his second season.