For the second year in a row, Canadian voters made a late push for the Raptors’ Kyle Lowry and vaulted him into being an All-Star starter — this time for the game in Toronto, making it especially appropriate and meaningful. Lowry had been 32,000 votes back before the final surge of votes made him a starter.
But if Lowry is in someone has to be out, and this year that was the Cavaliers’ Kyrie Irving.
Irving, who has played just 15 games this season after returning from knee surgery, is good with being passed, he told Chris Haynes of the Cleveland Plain Dealer.
“He deserves it, man,” Irving said of Lowry. “It was going to be either way — whether I made it or not — it was going to be the same reaction from me. Just, either it would be good to be there in Toronto (or) like I said, he deserves it.”
Should the coaches vote Irving in as a reserve after just 15 games?
“Honestly, me as a principled man, seeing it from a broader perspective, I wouldn’t be mad at all,” Irving said when asked if he was resigned to not making it as a backup. “Personally, I don’t feel like I deserve it just from the amount of games that I’ve played and the body of work.”
Irving has just started to shake off the rust following his injury, and more so just trust his knee. He is averaging 15.8 points, 3.9 assists and 2.9 rebounds a game this season — are those All-Star numbers? Over someone like Isaiah Thomas or John Wall?
If the criteria for being an All-Star is solely play in the first half of the NBA season, then no, Irving should be able to stay home and rest (or go to Mexico for a few days, or whatever he wants to do). But to me, it’s more than that. What has happened in recent seasons matters, as does talent level. Factor those things in and I think Irving should be an All-Star Game reserve.