View Full Version : Dukies in the All-Star Game?

02-05-2012, 01:17 PM
For years, the knock against Duke was that we couldn't produce All-Stars. Grant Hill obviously made it a few years, and Elton Brand and Carlos Boozer made it one year apiece. But it was never our strong suit.

Well, this year we have an excellent chance to get not just one but TWO players.

If Deng doesn't make the All-Star game this year, it would be highway robbery. He is the second most important player in championship contending team in the Bulls. His injured wrist is cited as a reason he may not make it, but to me it clinches the argument -- the Bulls went 4-3 without Deng. He's the Bull's best defender (and a legit Defensive Player of the Year), leads the Bulls in minutes, knocks down shots, cuts to the basket, rebounds, passes well, and generally just makes the team's offense and defense work. His 21 points and 9 rebounds at the Milwaukee game should put to rest any lingering doubts.

Because he doesn't have gaudy stats, he may never get voted in by the public, but the coaches should recognize and reward his impact on the game.

Here's a few links in argument for Deng:
- http://espn.go.com/blog/chicagobulls/post/_/id/7032/luol-deng-deserves-an-all-star-spot
- http://www.bulls101.com/2012/01/20/bulls-101-round-table-should-luol-deng-be-an-all-star
- http://bleacherreport.com/articles/1026182-chicago-bulls-luol-deng-playing-at-all-star-level-this-season
- http://espn.go.com/nba/dailydime/_/page/dime-120203-04/nba-all-star-reserve-picks

The second Dukie with a solid chance of making the All-Star game is rookie Kyrie Irving. It's rare for rookie guards to make the All-Star game (Derrick Rose didn't), but it's possible for Kyrie given the competition in the East. Rondo would probably make it if not for the limited number of games he's played due to injury, and Deron is having one of his worst seasons on the Nets. Meanwhile, Kyrie has been playing at an unbelievable level for the Cavaliers with a below average supporting cast -- he is their best player, their leader and their go-to guy, and he's doing it at a very high efficiency. He's also clutch (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Lj66SuIg6tg). The only knock against him early on was his relatively high turnovers and low assists, but as seen in the last few games, that was more a function of a rookie learning his team and his team learning to play with their new best player.

Let's look at how Kyrie stacks up to his competition:

Kyrie Irving: 22.3 PER, 18 points, 50% FG, 5.0 assists, 3.1 TOs, 9-13 team record
Brandon Jennings: 20.4 PER, 20 points, 43% FG, 5.4 assists, 2.2 TOs, 10-13 team record
Rajon Rondo: 19.4 PER, 14 points, 51%, 9.2 assists, 3.9 TOs, 12-10 team record
Deron Williams: 19:3 PER, 20 points, 40% FG, 8.8 assists, 4.5 turnovers, 8-17 team record

Kyrie's only blemish relative to his competition is assists, but over his last four games Kyrie posted 6.3 assists and 2.0 TOs. Can we really fault Kyrie for the lower numbers? The Cavaliers are below average shooters and finishers. They were the last place team in the NBA last season for a reason! And today they are within reach of breaking 0.500.

What's most amazing though is Kyrie's field goal percentage, bested only by Rondo but who is a liability on free throws. However, Rondo doesn't need to shoot as much with Allen, Pierce and Garnett, and because Rondo has only played 13 games he may not really be in contention. Jennings has a better A:TO ratio than Kyrie, but shoots at a substantially lower percentage. Overall, there's a reason why Kyrie's PER is second only to Derrick Rose among conference PGs (and #8 in all of the NBA!).

If you just look at the numbers, Kyrie deserves to be an All-Star. However, because he is just a rookie the coaches will probably go with another player.

Here's a few links in argument for Irving:
- http://www.sbnation.com/nba/2012/2/2/2766978/nba-all-star-2012-reserves-kevin-love-kyrie-irving?sct=nba_t13_a13
- http://www.sheridanhoops.com/2012/02/02/here-are-your-nba-all-star-reserves/
- http://sports.yahoo.com/blogs/nba-ball-dont-lie/east-star-reserves-determined-entertainment-value-154149021.html