Kyrie Irving an All-Star, not a superstar

Updated: April 28, 2011, 12:39 PM ET
By David Thorpe

Even before a number of other high-level players opted to skip the draft and return to school, Kyrie Irving was going to be a serious candidate for the No. 1 pick, depending, of course, on who gets it. Now he might be the guy no matter who is drafting.

The top overall pick, however, is not something that carries the same value from year to year. Dwight Howard, LeBron James, Blake Griffin and Derrick Rose have all proved to truly be franchise talents. John Wall absolutely is on track for a similar impact. But Andrea Bargnani, Greg Oden and Andrew Bogut, while clearly talented players, are not "MVP" caliber players (and Oden's career has never gotten off the ground as a result of injuries).

So if the team that ends up with the No. 1 pick decides to draft Irving, will it merely be getting a long-term starter, or can he be the foundation for a potential championship squad and a future MVP candidate? My guess is that he'll be in-between those levels, a star who can be the MVP of a playoff series, but not MVP of the league. Here's why: