Boston Celtics combo-guard Marcus Smart explains what makes Kyrie Irving one of the five toughest players he has ever guarded.
Kyrie Irving is hands down one of the best ball-handlers in the league. A very few set of players in the history of the NBA have handles as shifty and smooth as Kyrie’s. There is virtually no defender whose ankles “Uncle Drew” hasn’t broken. And because of his surreal ability to handle the ball so flawlessly, it has enabled Kyrie to be one of the most successful guards in league history.
Kyrie “Kai” Irving is a special talent. The 6-foot-2 guard is a 7-time All-Star, 3-time All-NBA player, and even helped LeBron James and the Cavaliers to win one of the toughest championships of all time.
Boston Celtics swingman Marcus Smart is one of the top defenders in today’s league. He is often given the role to defend the best guards from the opposition. According to Smart, a 2-time All-Defensive player, Irving is one of the five toughest players he has ever guarded.
“Kyrie Irving really good at going to his second and third moves when you cut off his first”: Marcus Smart
In an interview with “The Players’ Tribune”, Smart gave Kyrie Irving a few high compliments. Apart from lauding the Brooklyn Nets superstar, Marcus explained what made Kyrie so difficult to guard. Alongside naming Kawhi Leonard, Paul George, Stephen Curry, Giannis Antetokounmpo and Anthony Davis, Marcus even mentioned Kyrie’s name as the toughest players he had to guard.
“There are a lot of things that make Kyrie’s game unstoppable. But his ability to ad-lib and come up with things on the fly is special. That’s why I like to call Kyrie’s moves “last-minute moves.”
“It’s like, when the shot clock is winding down and he’s gotta do something. As a defender, you’re running through Kyrie’s arsenal in your mind, narrowing down what you’ve seen him do and what he might pull out at that moment, based on where he’s at on the court. He’s short on time, so his options are limited. Then literally at the last second, he hits you with something you weren’t expecting. And you’re like, Dang … how did he even think of that?”
“He’s really good at going to his second and third moves when you cut off his first, or when he doesn’t have time to set something up. He’s got the best crossover in the game. He can step back. There are so many ways he can get you turned around or off balance and create separation.”
“It all comes down to his ball control. He’s got the ball on a string. It’s never too wide, never too tight. He uses the ball to make you think. To capture your attention and get you out of position. He can manipulate the ball — and with it, the defender — like nobody else.”
“So what do you do? All you can really do is stay up on him. You can’t fall for all the shakes. He’s gonna throw a lot of moves at you and pick his spots. So you gotta stay on your toes. Stay disciplined. And be ready for anything.”