One of the best ways to present news to our readers here at Right Down Euclid is to offer differing opinions. Whenever a highly debated topic concerning the Cleveland Cavaliers comes our way, it’s our job as writers to offer it in an accessible and simplified way. That’s what Wine or Gold is here for.
In this installment of Wine or Gold, editor Zak Kolesar and contributing writer Dan Pilar argue whether or not Cleveland Cavaliers point guard Kyrie Irving should have gotten to start in the Eastern Conference All-Star Game over Rajon Rondo.
Question: Did Kyrie Irving deserve to start at point guard for the Eastern Conference over Rajon Rondo?
Against: Dan Pilar
Irving outperformed Rajon Rondo in Tuesday night’s game at the Q, but that doesn’t mean Irving deserves to be the Eastern Conference’s starting point guard in the All-Star game. This season Irving has developed himself into a top-three point guard in the league. If he reduces his turnover rate, he can be the best. But with him in his second year, he doesn’t deserve to be a starter over Rondo. Rondo almost singlehandedly beat the Miami Heat last year, but his efforts fell short in Game 7 of the Eastern Conference Finals. He is the glue for the Celtics, and without him, they would be a bottom dweller just like the Cavs.
I know being voted in the All-Star game is a yearly accomplishment, but year after year players who have historically been good get more votes over players who have had a better year. At the young age of 20, Irving has turned so many players heads and twisted their ankles. If he hadn’t missed 11 games, the voting may have been a little closer, but the injury really set him back with his team sporting a record of 11-32.
For: Zak Kolesar
After Tuesday’s win over the Boston Celtics, head coach Byron Scott poised this debate to an onslaught of journalists: “If you look at the point guards in the Eastern Conference, name me one that’s having a better season (than Irving). I’ll wait.” Now Scott is a coach who isn’t afraid to show pride in his players and gloat about them every now and again, but we all know that he’s a brutally honest man. Remember the aftermath that ensued in the post-game presser following the Cavaliers 91-78 loss to the Phoenix Suns earlier this season? Scott famously said, “Andy Varejao was fantastic. Everybody else sucked tonight.” He also made a claim that Varejao was the best center in the East during a time when the Cleveland big man was still healthy, and the proof is there to back that statement up. So when Scott made known that he believes no point guard in the East has played at a higher level than Irving, he wasn’t making an outlandish accusation.
Irving not only is the highest-scoring point guard in the East, he leads all of the point guards in the NBA in scoring – as he is currently averaging 23.7 points. In the win against Boston, Irving showed why he is among the biggest offensive threats in the Association when he scored 11 of his 40 points in isolation (per ESPN Stats and Information). When he took Rondo to the hole for a three-point play that gave his team a five-point advantage with under 25 seconds to go in regulation, he made an All-Star statement. Even though Rondo gets a triple-double every so often and leads the league in assists, he hinders what his team does on the court. Everyone says to look at the record when making a debate for Kyrie starting in Houston, but, according to 82games.com, Irving makes the Cleveland offense 7.5 points per 100 possessions better when he’s on the court. Rondo, on the other hand, makes his team 2.3 points per possession worse when he is playing. He may have missed 11 games due to injury, but that doesn’t take away from what he has done on the court in 32 games this season. Boston may have nine games on the Cavaliers, but it is evident that Kyrie deserves the start over Rondo.