Kyrie Irving. One of the best ball handlers ever. Great scorer. Second best player on the 2016 Cavalier championship team. 7-Time All-Star. 2-Time All-NBA player. Obviously an excellent player. This season, he’s averaging 28 PPG, 5 RPG, and 6 APG on 50/39/90 shooting. Those would be MVP numbers if he wasn’t the third best player on his team. I think Kyrie is a top fifteen player in the NBA.
The problem is that lately people have been overrating him. I’d almost say severely overrating him. I say severely because the overrating has gone further than just calling him a top ten player or something (which is a reasonable statement, but not a correct one). There are two main claims that I keep seeing on the internet that I have to address.
Claim 1: Kyrie>Damian Lillard
If you look at the stats, you would think Kyrie is better than Dame. That’s the issue though. Not everybody watches a ton of basketball. Most fans just watch their favorite teams and nationally televised games (People like that shouldn’t be allowed to have hot takes, by the way).
So of course, if you only look at the stats, you don’t get the full story. The full story is that Damian Lilllard is better than Kyrie Irving. Why, you may ask? Dame is a number one option.
Kyrie has shown us that he isn’t a number one option. He tried it in Boston, and it didn’t work out. He was criticized by teammates saying that he was hard to play with. If you’re supposed to be the best player on your team and your teammates don’t even like playing with you, that’s an issue.
Meanwhile, Damian Lillard is a great leader. Dame has also had more team success as a number one option.
Simply put, Lillard has the tools a number one option needs. Kyrie doesn’t. Therefore, there’s no way you can say Kyrie is better than Dame.
(P.S: I know Kyrie is a good guy. But good guy≠good leader.)
Claim #2: Kyrie Irving is the most skilled offensive player ever
This one is funny. Obviously, Kyrie is HIGHLY skilled. The way he can dribble is simply mind boggling. He’s an excellent finisher, and a great shooter as well. But there are two players I can say for certain are more skilled offensively than Kyrie.
The first is Kevin Durant, who in my opinion is the most skilled offensive player ever. He’s seven feet tall, and can dribble and shoot with the best. He might be the most fun player to watch when he’s hot, because he’s simply unstoppable. There’s no way you can watch these guys on the court together and tell me that Kyrie is more skilled.
The other is Stephen Curry. Curry’s ball handling isn’t far off from Kyrie’s, and Curry is a better scorer. After all, Steph is the greatest shooter ever. There’s a reason why Curry is the best point guard in the league even when his team isn’t in the playoffs.
(There are two other players that you could argue are more skilled than Kyrie. One is Michael Jordan. I’ve obviously never watched him play, so I couldn’t really tell you. The other is James Harden.)
So you could say that Kyrie is a top five most skilled offensive player ever, perhaps even top three. But the best EVER? That’s crazy talk.
(I do think it’s absolutely crazy that three of the best offensive players ever are on the same team right now.)
Those are my thoughts on the recent claims being made about Kyrie Irving. Do you agree with my takes? You’ll also have to let me know if articles like this are hard to read (articles where I just sit down and write my opinion with no prior outline.) Thanks for reading!