Following on from the large response to our first “You’re The GM” piece here at Hoopshabit, which you can view here, each week we will be asking the NBA fans out there to pick from between two players, teams, or other scenarios that will be presented to them here. The more comments and opinion the better, as disagreement and discussion is what what us fans love to get into best. With that being said, this week we look at two All-Star point guards, both of which appear to have very bright futures in the game.
Had this question been posed this time last year, this would perhaps have been a little easier to answer. Irving was going from strength to strength on a personal level with the Cleveland Cavaliers at the time, even if his team was struggling. However, with a playoff push expected this season that has failed to materialize, as well as the horrific Andrew Bynum project, the Cavs have actually regressed.
This is hardly Irving’s fault, although his leadership at this time does have to be questioned. Most of his numbers are down slightly from last season, notably in the points and assists categories, but he is still playing to a high level. In fact what may be hurting his reputation more is the fact so much is now expected of him given his blistering start to life as a professional player.
Add to that the fact that traditionally great players bump it up a gear in year three, which Irving has not to this point and has arguably gone backwards, and some may begin to wonder if his ceiling was a little lower than most predicted. We need to slow down a moment though, as we are being harsh on everything Irving has achieved so far in a relatively short time. Rookie of the Year, a two-time All-Star already and first-time starter this year, “Uncle Drew” is the future of the NBA at the point guard position. To see him go at All-Star MVP Chris Paul in last year’s game was to witness a young man going after the very best and truly backing his own ability. Irving even won some of those personal battles, proving he belonged at the top table along with all of the other great players on display.
So perhaps it is not that Irving has regressed that much, maybe we just expect too much of him considering what success he’s had personally since entering the league. It would seem if he wants to get serious about winning though, he should leave the Cavaliers at the first opportunity, although a TV special is not advised. Irving has never had a chance to run the point for even a decent team in the NBA, but when that day comes, and it will, opposing teams around the league will rightly be scared.
It is kind of ironic that Wall, also a first pick in an NBA draft, has had a different career path to Irving to get to the All-Star point they are both at now. Whereas Irving has shown his potential from day one, a mix of injury and a “knucklehead” locker room hindered Wall’s progress initially. So much so, that when he was offered a max contract by the Wizards this summer, some felt his play had not yet justified the dollars. He had shown the form in spurts, but was consistently not playing at an elite level. With expectations on a similar keel to the Cavaliers, make the playoffs, an improved roster and Wall’s best season yet have made this dream very much a reality.
Again, with the Cavaliers being poor Irving must take some of the flak, and with the Wizards playing well, Wall does deserve some of the credit. Indeed, getting to above .500 for the first time in four years was an achievement in itself, even if that hasn’t lasted particularly long. That being said though, both players are as important to their respective teams as the other. If Wall stays injury free, and he is currently enjoying an extended run playing after some pesky knee issues, he is only going to get better, as the Wizards strive to make some moves to make them a real player in the postseason.
As with most of these pieces going forward, there really is no wrong answer here. To have one of these guys in your team means you have an All-Star in your ranks and are going in the right direction. On this season alone, Wall would have to take it, simply because his good play correlates to the Wizards playing well. For Irving, no matter how well he plays, and he has had some huge nights, rarely is it pushing his team over the line to grab the win. Again, not all Irving’s fault at all, but it does matter. Irving has arguably had the better career so far, or to put it in more correct terms, a quicker pace to success at this point. So, what do you think? Leave your answers in the comment box below, and if you have genuine reasons or facts why, as opposed to simply being a fan of the player, all the better! Alternatively you can let me know @LucaLockheart on twitter, may the best player win!