With Boston Celtics guard Rajon Rondo now out for the season after tearing his ACL, his spot as a starter for the Eastern Conference All-Star team is now vacant, leaving Spoelstra (coach of the team) with the task of deciding who should be his replacement.
While Eric hasn’t come outright and said he would choose Bosh, it would appear that he is leaning towards inserting Chris into the lineup.
“I will tell you this, unequivocally, that my loyalties, first and foremost, are always with the Miami Heat.”
If chosen, the Heat would become the first team since the 1990 Los Angeles Lakers (Magic Johnson, James Worthy, A.C Green) to have three All-Star starters.
Spoelstra would love nothing more than to make Chris Bosh a starter and create history in the process. The head coach of the Miami Heat coaching three Miami Heat players in the starting-unit for the NBA All-Star team would be quite the achievement for the franchise.
Now, would it be the right decision? Would it even be fair?
Rajon Rondo was selected as a starter because he received the second-highest amount of votes in the fan-voting for the East (924,180), thus making him the second member of the starting backcourt, along with Heat guard Dwayne Wade.
Since it was the fan-voting that created that spot in the first place, wouldn’t it be fair to take one of the two remaining backcourt players on the roster (Irving and Philadelphia 76ers guard Jrue Holiday), see which individual had the most votes and then make him the replacement?
If that were the case, Kyrie Irving (445,730) would be the man for the job.
This wouldn’t be the first time an All-Star coach has had to make this sort of decision concerning one of his own players, as mentioned in a recent report by ESPN.com.
In 2010, Denver Nuggets coach George Karl could’ve picked his own guard, Chauncey Billups, to start for the injured Kobe Bryant. Instead he went with Dirk Nowitzki, in no small part because the game was in Dallas.
In 2007, Phoenix Suns coach Mike D’Antoni started Nowitzki in Yao’s spot even though his own star, Amar’e Stoudemire, could’ve filled in.
In 2006, Detroit Pistons coach Flip Saunders could’ve put Rasheed Wallace in the starting lineup for a hurt Jermaine O’Neal but chose Vince Carter. The Pistons had four All-Stars that season and Saunders decided to bring them all into the game together instead.
If this decision were to be made solely on the grounds of who has had a better season thus far, the answer would be obvious.
Kyrie Irving stats: 24.0 points, 47.1% from the field, 3.5 rebounds, 5.4 assists, 1.8 steals, 0.4 blocks, 22.78 PER
Chris Bosh stats: 17.5 points, 54.4% from the field, 7.1 rebounds, 1.4 assists, 0.8 steals, 1.3 blocks, 20.61 PER
By evaluating both players individual performance through the first three months of the season, it’s easy to see why Irving should be named the starter over Bosh. He’s averaging nearly seven full points a game more than Chris, but his role on the Cavaliers is larger and more valuable than Bosh’s is in South Beach, so that should be taken into consideration as well, I suppose.
Kyrie is sixth in the league in scoring and one of only two players in the league averaging at least 20 points and five assists a game.
He has my vote.
Ultimately, Eric Spoelstra can do whatever he wants. The Miami Heat have the best record in the conference at 31-14 (thus earning Eric the job as coach), so if he makes Bosh a starter, then so be it.
If you were given the power to make this decision, who would you select?