Cleveland’s Kyrie Irving wouldn’t have to make much of a hard sell to claim he’s the best point guard of the NBA’s first half. For most of us, anyway — Heat coach Erik Spoelstra not included. The coach of the Eastern Conference All-Star team said Friday that Chris Bosh will join teammates Dwyane Wade and LeBron James as starters in Sunday’s showcase in Houston, with James playing point guard, keeping Irving out.
Those three will keep the East’s starters all along the Eastern Seaboard, with New York’s Carmelo Anthony and Boston’s Kevin Garnett rounding out the five. “Left out” is Irving, who game-winning threes, 23.5 points and 5.5 assists per game have propelled him into some MVP discussions, even if every MVP discussion is moot because of James. This could come off as blasphemy but, I’m actually more intrigued by James running the point than Irving because it’s essentially Spoelstra creating a “huge ball” lineup — exactly the opposite of how Miami won the 2012 NBA title with “small ball” strategies. How does that affect James’ point-guard approach from how he handles Miami’s offense at times, by finding room to penetrate with four smaller players spread to the arc? No one can say anymore that All-Star games are events when only the players switch things up.
— Marc Stein (@ESPNSteinLine) February 15, 2013
Every player wants to be an All-Star starter, of course, but starting Irving off on the bench could be a needed respite after he’ll take part in the Skills Competition, Three-Point Contest and Rising Stars Challenge during the weekend. I wouldn’t be surprised to learn Cleveland coach Byron Scott lobbied Spoelstra for a minutes limit on Irving in the All-Star Game. So enjoy the quick breather, Kyrie, because you won’t be on the bench long.
What do you think?
Follow Andrew on Twitter at @AndrewGreif.
Follow Dime on Twitter at @DimeMag.
Become a fan of Dime Magazine on Facebook HERE.