Kyrie Irving Could Be The Most Clutch Player Of The Millennium
How many players would you pick over Cleveland Cavaliers point guard Kyrie Irving if you needed a clutch bucket?
Kyrie Irving could be the most clutch player of the millennium.
The @cavs Kyrie Irving has a scoring average of 6.9 PPG in 18 overtime games, 1.5 higher than any other player in the last 17 seasons.
— Justin Kubatko (@jkubatko) February 7, 2017
The Kobe-esque nature of Irving’s clutchness has led to him being considered a Black Mamba-like assassin but according to the stats, he’s more explosive than even Kobe Bryant in the clutch.
The numbers are impressive but more impressive is actually watching Irving’s game enhance at the close of games.
The Kid hates losing and will not just dazzle and dazzle on his way to the rim with a series of ankle-taking moves but will launch shots from anywhere on the court, with or without his balance. All you hear after he shoots those shots is schoop or thump as the ball kisses the glass on a layup.
He’s a supreme bucket-getter with the game on the line and the stats prove it.
Irving’s most memorable clutch shots came against the Golden State Warriors. One in Game 7 of the 2016 NBA Finals over Stephen Curry and the other on Christmas Day over Klay Thompson,
Another memorable moment came last night against the Washington Wizards. After LeBron James fouled out in the overtime period, Irving led the Cleveland Cavaliers to victory in what a fellow Eastern Conference All-Star point guard in John Wall called the “biggest game of his career”.
In my opinion, Irving’s ability to score one-on-one is unrivaled. He has the ability to score from anywhere on the court, he can post-up, his ball-handling is second to none and his shot is silky smooth. How are you going to stop a player like Irving from scoring? Especially while he shares the court with James and Kevin Love?
While James has been equally clutch in terms of hitting big-time shots, Irving is a player the Cavs like to rely on to get buckets when they need someone to get a clean shot off.
James’ ball-handling leaves a lot to be desired at times as he tries herky jerky crossover dribbles to get his 6-foot-8, 250 pound frame past someone. As James has never been a pure shooter and his free-throw conversion rate is low for an all-time great that thrives when driving to the basket, it’s almost best that it’s Irving who takes over at the ends of games.
He’s the better shooter and, if he draws contact, he’ll be more reliable at the free throw line than James.
Kyrie Irving is at 97.7% in career overtime free throws (43-44), per @CavsFredMcLeod. Unbelievably clutch.
— Greg Swartz (@CavsGregBR) February 7, 2017
Irving is perhaps the most clutch player since Michael Jordan. That’s saying something, considering the level of talent of players that had their prime years in that time.
To be fair, James does have the higher field goal percentage (54.5 percent compared to Irving’s 37.3 percent) and three-point field goal percentage (57.1 percent compared to Irving’s 18.2 percent) according to NBA.com.
He’s even hitting shots like these:
But that’s what you’d expect from the best player in the league, an all-time great and possibly the greatest player in NBA history. Irving is 24-years-old and fresh off his first championship. One some would say he won for the Cavs as much as James with his clutch play against what may the greatest team of the millennium.
Do you think Kyrie Irving has been the most clutch player in the league since 2000? Let us know in the comments section or Twitter @KJG_NBA?
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