John Wall on Kyrie Irving: “I’m more of a point guard that likes to get his teammates involved”


If you thought that Kyrie Irving would forever be compared to Detroit-turned-Milwaukee guard Brandon Knight, think again. The Cavaliers All-Star point guard has a new peer in fellow All-Star John Wall of the Washington Wizards who wishes to get in on this discussion. Wall and his team got the best of the Cavaliers on Sunday night with the Wizards guard tallying 21 points and nine assists in the win. Irving, the Eastern Conference’s All-Star starter and game’s eventual MVP (much to the chagrin of Wizards fans—RIVALRY!), provided a run-of-the-mill 15 points (on 6-of-17 shooting) with five assists.

Wall, who was taken first overall in 2010, was asked about his game, the most recent round in what is bound to be a career-long duel.

“It’s always tough [facing Kyrie],” Wall said following the game. “Everybody wants to know who is the best young point guard and who’s the best guy in the Eastern Conference. We both do things great for our team. He’s probably a better offensive guy, skill-wise, and can basically take over games with his skills. I’m more of a point guard that likes to get his teammates involved and am blessed with the talents and abilities to get hot and able to score the ball. Guys look at every time we play as a marquee matchup, so everybody is going to be tuned in for the next couple of years.”

The Cavs kept it close with much of the second quarter being a back-and-forth, blow-for-blow contest, but the Wizards would pull away in the second half as the Wine and Gold managed to shoot just 26 percent from the floor. Cleveland was, once again, without Dion Waiters (who continues to nurse a hyperextended knee). Jarrett Jack, the team’s starting shooting guard, was just 3-for-11 from the floor, providing a minus-15 on the evening. Whatever “marquee” there was hoisted above this Sunday evening event, Jack ensured that the letters were dangling like a shoddy 7-Eleven by game’s end.

Irving, like his fellow backcourt mate, struggled through most of the contest. While Wall was banking in three-point buzzer-beaters, Irving (who previously averaged 30.7 points and 7.7 assists through the first three games against the Wizards) shot 0-for-5 in the fourth quarter with his only two points came at the free-throw line. He also didn’t have any assists.

“Time is of the essence right now, especially when we want to do something special,” said Irving. “We only have 26 games left to do it. There just needs to be a better sense of urgency, including from myself. I just have to raise my level, which I will do. We still have a goal in mind that we want to accomplish and we’re going to do everything in our power to do it.”

  • Balrog

    Shots fired! Pew pew pew!

  • mgbode

    Wall is on point with his comment. He could/should have ended it with: whichever of us learns to play great defense will separate ourself as the truly elite PG of the this young generation of players

  • rotosportsbook.com

    Wall has a big lead in that area, and I don’t see Kyrie catching him. But Kyrie really doesn’t need to be a great defender to be an elite pg, with his offensive skills if he could just get himself to league average that would be sufficient.

  • mgbode

    Wall is an adequate defender, which is much better than Kyrie at this point. If Kyrie can get close to him as a defender, then I agree his overall offense will likely keep him the better overall player.

  • BenRM

    Wall should be the better defender. He’s a good bit longer and the better athlete. If he’s not, he’s doing it wrong.

  • Wall is a better man and team defender. Period. But Wall is also vastly superior in terms of floor vision and playmaking. It’s not a mere coincidence that guys like Trevor Ariza, Martell Webster, Mo Evans, Roger Mason, and Cartier Martin have all turned into knockdown 3 point shooters playing alongside Wall. None of those guys was exactly an elite level 3pt shooter before (or after) playing with Wall.

    It takes a special talent to see plays develop, make high-level-of-difficulty crosscourt passes, and get guys wide open looks. It’s what people mean when they say Wall “makes his teammates better” and it’s no exagerration.

    Yes, he was a bit of a tranwreck offensively his first couple of years, but even then he put up 8+ apg, playing with total scrubs like Andray Blatche, Chris Singleton, and Rashard Lewis. That, my friends, is playmaking. It’s an area Wall is light years ahead of Irving in.

  • Defense isn’t all size and athleticism. It’s also instinct, focus, and determination. Wall frequently loses focus when he’s not totally dialed in. Those chasedown blocks are cute, but 9 times out of 10, he’s cleaning up his own mistake, after having made a careless pass.

    Still, he’s light years ahead of Irving, who often seems to be contemplating his next shot attempt when on defense.

  • BenRM

    It may not be all, but it should certainly help.

  • Wall plays the point like an actual point guard. Kyrie plays it like someone who’d rather be a 2. Kyrie could be a genuinely good 1, but he’s more about getting buckets first than distributing or playing D.