John Wall and Kyrie Irving never had a chance to form a rivalry last season, with the two former No. 1 overall picks limited to playing one game and one quarter against each other. Wall had the upper hand, winning both head-to-head meetings – statistically and on the scoreboard – but Irving ascended to stardom this season while Wall sat the first three months with a stress injury in his left knee.
The Wall-Irving debate never gathered much steam and Irving started to make separation after turning heads when the two point guards were part of the Team USA select that scrimmaged with the eventual gold-medal Olympic squad. Irving, still two months shy of his 21st birthday, is now being mentioned among the NBA’s elite point guards after dazzling during all-star weekend in Houston, where he won the three-point contest and scored 15 points in his first all-star game.
The 22-year-old Wall is more of a playmaker than scorer and still has much to prove to a steadily growing chorus of detractors questioning his value as a franchise building block and if a team can succeed if he’s the best player. Now that he has returned and led the Wizards (20-41) on a respectable run, Wall won’t have a chance to measure himself against Irving when Washington faces the Cavaliers on Tuesday for the third and final time.