As you may or may not know, I’m the managing editor of SBNation’s Cleveland Cavaliers blog, FearTheSword. And recently, many of us over there have complained about how Kyrie Irving should have been starting the All Star Game over Rajon Rondo. And then we complained when it came out that Erik Spoelstra would likely give Rondo’s now-vacant spot in the starting lineup to Chris Bosh instead of Kyrie. But while some of our complaints may be reasonable, they seem shortsighted and misguided. We’re talking about a 20-year old point guard on a last place team who was just named to the All Star team in his second season. Read that sentence again. Now read it again and consider how crazy it sounds.
Kyrie Irving is just 20 years old.
He cannot legally order an alcoholic beverage in the United States. He can’t rent a car. And yet, he’s on his way to Houston for the 2013 NBA All Star Game. [Ed. Note: 2/3 apply to the author of this article as well.]
It’s one thing to read those words and grasp the idea that most people his age are playing Assassin’s Creed in between college classes. But to watch him on the court and grasp this concept is another thing altogether. Nothing he does would indicate that he’s merely a kid. When Kyrie Irving is on the court, he carries himself with the poise and control of a seasoned veteran.. His baffling ball-handling skills and scoring ability are among the best that the NBA has to offer. However, it’s his desire to thrive in pressure situations and his unbelievable flair for the dramatic that makes Kyrie Irving must-watch television, despite his team’s residence at the bottom of the Eastern Conference.
Kyrie’s 23.9 points per game currently ranks 6th in the NBA. He joins LeBron James as the only other player in the Eastern Conference averaging 20+ points and 5+ assists each night. His statistical profile is beyond impressive and makes a valid claim for him to take a spot in the starting lineup. But it’s not a big deal if he ends up coming off the bench. It’s remarkable enough that a 20-year old has already solidified himself as a sure-fire All Star in just his second year in the league.
The Cavaliers are yet to play on ESPN or TNT since Kyrie arrived in Cleveland. His first All Star appearance acts as an opportunity to introduce himself to the more casual NBA fan. His full array of crossovers and hesitation moves will be on display whether he’s in the starting lineup or not. Kyrie has plenty of time to work up to being an All Star starter. And once he gets there, I figure he’ll keep that spot for the next, say, decade or so. After all, he’s just 20 years old.