If you look for Irving vs. Wall comps, most of that stuff is from over a year ago. It was easier to think of Kyrie as the “next John Wall,” before the Jersey kid got on the national stage. When Irving started playing at Duke, two things happened: 1. He produced with greater efficiency than John Wall did at Kentucky 2. People were not so enthralled by his athletic promise, like they were with John Wall’s.
Then Kyrie got injured, retained his number one status, a status this is currently cited as an indictment of the 2011 draft. “The next John Wall” is now “the reason this draft sucks,” mostly on account of his smallish 11 game sample size. Also, Irving is not thought of as a franchise-morphing superstar in the John Wall mode. Unlike his number-one pick predecessor, Kyrie is a hype orphan. The stat-lovers who should be touting Irving’s metrics are scared by the sample-size. The scouts who should love his athletic, slashing play, prefer Wall’s combine-tangible physical prowess.
Kyrie Irving looked to be the much better college basketball player in his brief stint. As Beckley so often says, he played “a perfect 11 games.” I watched most of these, and was struck by the athleticism that many draftniks find lacking. Irving burned opponents on coast-to-coast drives with a control that looked effortless. He attacked with a methodical violence, often shifting pace like a pitcher changing speeds. In stylistic contrast, John Wall attacked with a predictable straight-line velocity that blurred my HD feed, but compromised Wall’s ability to keep possession. To continue the cross-sport analogy, Wall was a flame-thrower who struggled at taming his 103 MPH heaters into the strike zone.
Wall is thought to be the next Rose and he did little to dispel such notions as a rookie. Injuries nagged an otherwise solid year and I have high expectations for his future. But I don’t think Wall will be better than Irving, a player Chad Ford compares to Mo Williams.
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