The Mikan Drill

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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.

First step

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.


Written by Joshua Riddell

December 2, 2010 at 4:45 pm

10 Responses

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  1. […] The Mikan Drill cut four videos of Irving against Michigan State, highlighting the three areas in which Irving excels: his first step, his hesitation move and his nasty crossover. It’s impressive, solid stuff and helps explain how the 6-1 point guard went for 31 points and hit 8 of 12 shots against the Spartans, who aren’t slackers on defense, either. […]

  2. […] The driving ability of Kyrie Irving: Taking a look at how the freshman phenom is able to get the basket so often (The Mikan Drill) […]

  3. Thanks for the breakdown. Irving is already a star…and he’ll continue to improve his decision making as Duke gets better this season. Already got through the two most challenging games and made two top guards (Pullen and Lucas) look silly.


    December 3, 2010 at 12:48 pm

    • I think that is the scary thing. Irving is doing all this after only a handful of games. That is bad news for the ACC.


      December 3, 2010 at 7:42 pm

  4. […] • This is why I love independent college basketball blogs. Terrific work in breaking down how Kyrie Irving does what he does best: get to the hole, and fast. {The Mikan Drill} […]

  5. I think Kemba Walker might have something to say about who’s the best guard at getting to the basket, but Irving did put on a clinic against MSU.


    December 3, 2010 at 7:38 pm

    • Walker is great as well. I would take Irving right now but you can’t go wrong with either guy.


      December 3, 2010 at 7:41 pm

  6. […] A few weeks ago, we looked at the driving ability of Kyrie Irving after the Michigan State game (see the post here). With Irving hampered by a toe injury for an indefinite period of time, Walker has taken over the […]

  7. […] Meanwhile, the boys over at The Mikan Drill are putting together entire blog posts about how Kyrie Irving’s first step is one of the best in the nation. Barnes seems like an incredibly astute kid so I agree with the general consensus that he’ll […]

  8. Тайланд. Любые экскурсии с Паттайя. Индивидуальные трансферы по Таиланду От тайской тур компании Русалочка. Все описания экскурсий, цены и фото можно посмотреть по ссылке Телефон в Таиланде (WhatsApp, Viber, Line, Telegram): +66–861559142


    February 14, 2017 at 2:34 pm

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