Allen Iverson vs. Kyrie Irving — Stephen A. Smith decides who’s the better player
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Allen Iverson vs. Kyrie Irving — Stephen A. Smith decides who’s the better player

Many have drawn parallels between Allen Iverson and Kyrie Irving. And fairly so — the nuances of their games are incredibly similar. But who’s the better player? Here’s Stephen A. Smith’s take on it.

If you taking skill, there is nothing to talk about. Kyrie Irving is a better ball-handler; he finished just as good at the basket, he’s a better outside shooter, his handle is nasty.

Stephen A Smith, Stephen A’s World

According to Stephen A., Kyrie wins the skills argument. But there’s also the other side of that coin that isn’t solely based on dissecting their on-court abilities. That’s where ESPN’s NBA analyst gives the edge to The Answer.

Was Kyrie as reliable as Allen Iverson? Did Allen Iverson ever have the teammates that Kyrie Irving had? None of those guys was LeBron James. They’re not Kevin Durant or James Harden now. A.I. didn’t have that to work with.

Stephen A Smith, Stephen A’s World

You can’t compare accolades without putting them in context. That’s why comparing individuals is hard in the first place – especially when they’ve been a part of unevenly matched collectives. The discussion always comes down to what one could’ve done in place of the other.

Put Iverson on the same teams Irving has been on, and we wouldn’t be talking about A.I. as one of the best never to win a ring. We wouldn’t even be comparing him to the Nets superstar – he’d undoubtedly be in a tier above. Especially when you account for Iverson’s availability.

A.I. also did something Kyrie Irving has never done. A.I. played every game of one season. All 82. Kyrie has never done that. Kyrie misses a lot of action.

Stephen A Smith, Stephen A’s World

So who are you going to trust when it really counts? Not only to hit the shot – Kyrie proved he can do that when it matters the most – but to show up and leave it all on the floor. For Stephen A., that’s an easy question.

You know my answer. It’s gonna always be The Answer because he wanted the ball no matter what. That means I knew he’d be there. That matters to me. But nobody’s more skilled than Kyrie Irving. That’s my answer.

Stephen A Smith, Stephen A’s World

That would be my answer as well. What is yours?