Originally posted on Stepien Rules  |  Last updated 1/25/13
I was old enough to remember how rare it actually is to employ an NBA All-Star in Cleveland. Otherwise, maybe he would’ve been right. Maybe I would have been spoiled by the last great All-Star to wear Cleveland across his chest. I appreciated his brilliance then, though, just as much as I appreciate Kyrie Irving’s now. Irving’s inclusion on the 2013 All-Star team only reinforces the fact that the rest of world is now officially appreciating his greatness too. As Irving prepares for his trip to Houston, the Cavaliers have now drafted two players in the last decade who have gone on to become All-Stars in their second season. As much as that simple fact could genuinely appear like a trend to the under-20 crowd, it most certainly is not. There have only been 15 Cavaliers selected as All-Stars since 1971. Irving now makes 16. Unlike the selections of Tyrone Hill and Mo Williams, however, Irving will remain on the NBA’s midseason showcase for many years to come. While I fully expected Irving to make the All-Star team this season, and even think he could’ve made it last year as a rookie, his official selection last night gave me pause from the monotony of losing. It made me reflect on how quickly Irving has instilled a new hope within a franchise that has compiled a 50-140 record since the 2010-11 season began. If you told me back then, that the Cavaliers would employ a 20-year-old All Star in three years, I’d have asked you simply to stop lying. There is no way I’d have ever believed that. Those things don’t happen in general, and they certainly don’t happen in Cleveland.  Only, as Irving becomes the seventh player in NBA history under 21-years old to be selected to an All-Star game, it’s happened in Cleveland now twice. Where we go from here is anyone’s guess. Unlike 2010, though, I’m not ruling anything out anymore. Tristan Thompson Bobblehead night is TONIGHT Tristan Thompson's bobblehead night was appropriately scheduled. He has been trending upward from a statistical standpoint ever since Anderson Varejao was sidelined. In anticipation of the event, I was even considering a week-long celebration.  Maybe next year, though. While the twitterspheric discussion of Thompson often includes opinions of what he can't do, or perceptions of what he will not become, tonight is a night to celebrate the tangible progress he has made. The player I called in Cavs Zine II "the most electric leaper since Earl "The Goat" Manigault" is evolving into a double-double machine right before our eyes. His relentless energy that's been apparent since the first time he stepped onto an NBA floor has now materialized into averages of 10.6 points and 9.3 rebounds over through 43 games this season. Young players can improve in this league. The player you see as a rookie is not always the same guy we see in year three. In year two, for Thompson, he currently ranks 15th in the NBA in rebounding. He's also totaled 16 double-doubles which rank 20th in the league heading into bobblehead night. Last season, Thompson registered nine double-doubles in 60 games. He also shot 56.8 percent on shots at the rim according to Hoopdata, along with 31.7 percent on attempts from 3-9 feet.  This year Thompson's improved both numbers to 62.7 percent and 35. The latter percentage, like Thompson in general, will only improve the more he continues to work.  Get there early  tonight for that Bobblehead, you guys, I expect they'll go quickly.
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