NBA news: Chauncey Billups, the coach of the Portland Trail Blazers and a former NBA Finals MVP, believes Brooklyn Nets guard Kyrie Irving is “the greatest skilled player” to ever play the point guard position.
This is a bit of a backhanded compliment (though I don’t think Billups meant it that way). Irving has the potential to be the greatest point guard of all time. Nobody, though, believes he is the greatest point guard of all time.
Irving is a brilliant offensive creator on his own. His ball-handling skills are flawless. With superb balance and ingenuity, he can go to the rim and finish.
His shooting technique is flawless from mid-range to long-range, as well as off-the-dribble. It might appear as if he is impervious to opposing defenses. These are critical abilities, and Irving possesses them in spades.
NBA news: Billups heaps praise on Kyrie Irving
Before the Blazers’ 114-108 win against the Nets on Monday night, Billups remarked, “Kyrie is just, he’s a wizard, man,” “He’s must-see TV. I personally think, as somebody that played the position, I think Kyrie’s the most skilled player that’s ever played that position. Just straight skill. Nothing else. Just straight skill. I think he’s the best that I’ve ever seen at the position, skill-wise. So, obviously, he gives you a ton when he’s playing.“
Billups made the statement in response to a question about how different the Nets are with Irving on the court. Irving, 29, has only appeared in two games this season.
Irving, who has not been vaccinated against COVID-19, did not start the season with the Nets since they elected not to have a part-time player due to New York City’s vaccination rule.
After a COVID-19 infection spread among the squad, the corporation changed course last month. Irving made his comeback against the Indiana Pacers on Wednesday, displaying hints of the overwhelming offensive force he has always been.
After the game, Irving, who had 22 points, eight rebounds, and four assists in Monday’s defeat, agreed with Billups’ assessment.
Kyrie Irving on Billups’ praise
“I definitely appreciate the praise and I definitely agree that my skill level at this point in my career deserves that recognition,” Irving said. “But the work never stops. Understanding that coming from a lot of our OG’s that we call in our league that has built this brotherhood, that has built this culture, it’s incredible to hear that they have that high praise, but like I said in the beginning it’s just more added motivation and to continue to prove it.”
Irving appreciated Billups’ warm words and appreciated that they came from someone who had accomplished what the seasoned player and coach had throughout his own career.
As much as Billups admires Irving’s talent, it’s worth noting that the former player and now coach feels it will be tough for the Nets to regain their stride with Irving limited to most away games for the time being.