Ask any fan of the Cleveland Cavaliers and they'll tell you that Kyrie Irving hasn't lived up to expectations this season. It's his third year in the league and people were hoping that he'd make a significant leap forward into a group of truly elite players. Thus far, we haven't seen that. He's shooting a career worst in field goal percentage and three-point percentage. His PER of 17.5 is lower than either of his first two seasons. And despite all of that, he's currently on track to start the NBA All Star Game in New Orleans this year.
On Thursday, the NBA released the very very early results of fan voting for the All Star Game. Kyrie trails only Dwyane Wade among guards in the Eastern Conference, which means that if voting ended today, Kyrie would be a starter.
1. Dwyane Wade (Mia) 396,279
2. Kyrie Irving (Cle) 365,712
3. Derrick Rose (Chi) 272,410
4. John Wall (Was) 124,851
5. Ray Allen (Mia) 99,464
6. Rajon Rondo (Bos) 80,889
7. Deron Williams (BKN) 44,282
8. George Hill (Ind) 42,536
9. Evan Turner (Phi) 33,605
10. Mario Chalmers (Mia) 32,996
Kyrie's only about 90,000 votes ahead of Derrick Rose, but his injury will obviously keep him out of the game. He's over 200,000 votes ahead of John Wall for the 2nd guard spot in the Eastern Conference lineup. I'm fully aware that fans of the Washington Wizards will be outraged by this. And they have a pretty good argument that Wall should be ahead of Kyrie if we're basing it solely on their play this season.
But I don't expect Kyrie Irving to shoot 32% from three for very long. We have a sample of two seasons of Kyrie Irving being an incredibly efficient player. I don't think that changed all of the sudden because he started committing himself to the defensive end of the floor. If the All Star Game were held today, Wall would be the more deserving player. But it's not held today -- it's in February. It's entirely possible that Kyrie will recover and be deserving of his starting spot by the time it actually happens.
I think it's silly to be voting on who deserves to be an All Star when we've only played 20 games of the season. It's a sample size that doesn't mean a whole lot. But you still can't just ignore what has happened on the court so far. I'm not going to claim that Kyrie deserves to start over Wall right now, but that also doesn't mean he won't be worthy in a few months.
And then there's the other argument that this is the fans' game and it's up to the fans to decide who they want to watch. If these early numbers are any indication, the fans want to watch Kyrie Irving. And I don't blame them. Kyrie will be an all star in New Orleans, one way or another. And John Wall will probably be too so don't worry about it.