A look at Kemba Walker’s driving ability and contrasting it with Kyrie Irving
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 title as best guard at getting to the rim in my mind. However, they have different strategies at getting to the rim. While we saw Irving using different moves combined with his quickness to attack, Walker takes a more measured approached to the basket while taking several short dribbles.
In this first clip, watch Walker as he knifes down the middle of the lane. He is not as quick as Irving but he is just as effective in getting to the rim. He uses two quick, short dribbles to reach the lane and avoids the defenders at the last second to hit the layup.
This is different from Irving’s style because it allows the defense to enter the picture. Irving moved so quickly the defense had little time to slide over and help. Walker’s moves are a little more calculated but allow the defense to give support to the initial defender. Walker is smart enough to avoid the defense while in the air, to avoid his shot getting blocked.
Similar to Irving, Walker has a deadly hesitation move but it is slightly different from the Duke guard. While Irving hesitates and then attacks, Walker hesitates, reads the defense and methodically takes the open lane. He seems to take a more measured approach, instead of always going full speed ahead like Irving.
Again, it takes Walker two dribbles (instead of one) to get to the rim but he uses the dribble to find the seams in the defense and get to the basket.
Walker and Irving have somewhat different ways to get to the rim but both are quite effective in doing so. While we see Irving using a maximum of one dribble combined with his speed to beat the defense to the rim, we often see Walker move a little more slowly, yet more calculated in reading the defense and finding the seams, while being able to adjust his shot in the air to avoid shot blockers.
So, when healthy, who do you think is the better at dribble penetration?