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Nets' Kyrie Irving Says He'd Vote Himself as All-Star Despite Shoulder Injury

Scott Polacek@@ScottPolacekFeatured ColumnistJanuary 9, 2020

Injured Brooklyn Nets guard Kyrie Irving applauds his teammates from the bench during the first half of an NBA basketball game against the Oklahoma City Thunder, Tuesday, Jan. 7, 2020, in New York. (AP Photo/Kathy Willens)
Kathy Willens/Associated Press

The NBA released its second round of All-Star voting Thursday, and Brooklyn Nets guard Kyrie Irving is second among Eastern Conference backcourt players behind only Trae Young of the Atlanta Hawks despite playing just 11 games this season because of a shoulder injury.

He doesn't see a problem with that.

"I think I've put in a lot of work in this league to be up there whether I'm playing or not," he told reporters. "And if you want to see an All-Star Game, I'd vote for myself as well."

Malika Andrews @malika_andrews

Kyrie Irving is 2nd in All Star voting for eastern guards, despite being injured. Irving said, “I think I’ve put in a lot of work in this league to be up there whether I’m playing or not. And if you want to see an All Star game, I’d vote for myself as well.” Full comments: https://t.co/IBWvqn8YO7

That Irving hinted he would put on a show if fans voted him as a starter should be welcome news for the Nets. After all, he hasn't played since Nov. 14 but seemed to indicate he would be ready to go for the Feb. 16 showcase should he have the opportunity to play in it.

Irving told reporters Saturday he is "doing a lot better" and said Thursday he has done some contact work and practiced in five-on-five scenarios.

He looked like an All-Star when he averaged 28.5 points, 7.2 assists and 5.4 rebounds per game before his injury, but it is difficult to justify voting for him based on the 2019-20 campaign alone. After all, he has played in less than one-third of the Nets' games and would take a spot from someone far more deserving.

Still, there is something to be said about the fact that the All-Star Game is an exhibition for the fans, and he is a popular two-time All-NBA selection and six-time All-Star who is best known for hitting the winning three-pointer in Game 7 of the 2016 NBA Finals.

He will need those votes to continue to pour in, as he is in a tight race, with 1,351,997 votes compared to the 1,331,577 third-place Kemba Walker has received.

Walker has played 31 games this season for the Boston Celtics and is averaging 22.0 points, 5.2 assists and 3.9 rebounds per contest.

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