Watch: Here’s why Kyrie Irving has been called the best ball handler in NBA history
LeBron James has been the Cavaliers’ best player over the last three seasons. But Kyrie Irving has often been the most electric, thanks to his jaw-dropping ball handling moves.
The 25-year-old point guard can seemingly score at will, busting through defenders with quick crossovers and dizzying maneuvers. At times, Irving looks unstoppable.
— NBA on TNT (@NBAonTNT) May 2, 2017
Irving’s peers laud his dribbling ability. Rockets guard Eric Gordon said last year Irving has the “best handle of all time.” The numbers back it up, too. More than two-thirds of Irving’s field goals last season (35 percent) came when he took seven dribbles or more –– a testament to his ability to keep offensive series alive.
In Cleveland, Irving worked with assistant coach Phil Handy after practice to further hone his skills. The two would gather for 15-20 minutes, working on a plethora of dribble combinations. Irving also puts in work before each game, dedicating 10-12 minutes to dribbling and shooting workouts.
“There is creativity that goes into it, meaning to change on the fly with multiple combinations, multiple moves, being able to turn my practice into my work and really just have some fun out there,” Irving told the Undefeated’s Marc Spears in March. “Being able to keep your defender in an unpredictable state is always a fun thing because you can dribble, shoot, pass … You’re able to not only make plays for yourself, but for everyone on the court.”
Irving’s incredible ball handling ability allows him to instantly create space between himself and a defender. This was apparent in Game 7 of the 2016 NBA Finals, when the star point guard nailed the game-winning three-pointer in Steph Curry’s face. It might have been the biggest shot in NBA history.
3. Kyrie Irving ‘The Shot’ (Game 7, 2016 NBA Finals) pic.twitter.com/Nc5PjCqEOA
— The Fuzz (@TheFuzzNBA) August 4, 2017
On Christmas Day, Irving also hit a contested game-winner against the Warriors, when he spun around in the paint and nailed a jump shot over Klay Thompson’s outstretched arm.
Larry Bird holds the Celtics’ single-season scoring record at 29.93 points per game. With moves like that, Irving seems poised to break it.
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Source: GreenStreet Blog