The driving ability of Kyrie Irving
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After his performance against Michigan State, I am sure you have read or heard countless people talk about the level Irving is playing at currently. Hopefully this will be a little different take than the others and you will come away with something new.
What I have been most impressed with is his ability to get to the basket at any time with a variety of moves. That is what we will be focusing on today with a few examples from the MSU game.
What is scary is that Irving is quick enough to beat guards off the dribble without any moves. While he does give a little ball fake in this clip, it does not really throw off Derrick Nix. What beats him is a quick first step toward the basket.
Irving needs only one dribble to get from the 3 point line to the rim. For a guard in traffic, this is impressive. There are no wasted dribbles or movements. His strides are long, which helps him get past the defense. Very impressive move by Irving here.
In this second clip highlighting his first step, Irving uses a screen from Mason Plumlee. As many teams will do, Plumlee’s man ignores him and focuses on stopping Irving. Garrick Sherman looks to be in position to slow him down but Irving blows by him with a quick first step.
Again, he needs only one dribble to get to the rim from the 3 point line. He beats Sherman with long strides after he picks up the dribble, which get him past the long arms of the defense and to the rim for the layup. There are no wasted dribbles here, allowing the defense to recover. He makes his moves quickly which allows him to beat the defense.
In addition to being able to beat defense simply off the dribble, Irving possesses several dribble moves that can help him get to the rim. Here, we see him use a hesitation move on Korie Lucious that freezes him. Lucious can only watch as Irving goes right by him.
The hesitation move is hard to execute correctly and many guards end up palming the ball and turning it over. Irving has mastered the move and will be favored to beat the defender anytime he uses the hesitation.
Finally, we come to the staple of guards, the crossover. What makes this move so fascinating is the pace at which Irving completes it. Like everything else he does on the court, it is lightning quick and can be missed if you blink.
He sets up the Lucious to make it look like he is using the ball screen. At the last second, he crosses the ball across his body and Lucious can only wave as Irving goes by. MSU cuts him off from the basket this time but he finds the open man, leading to an open three.
Any bad NBA team that needs a PG has to be salivating. Irving has the ability and quickness to get to the basket any time he wants to. I think he has already proven he is the best guard at getting to the basket this season.