Ball-handling is one of the most underrated skills in today’s NBA — it’s one of the most challenging basketball skills to master, but if perfected, it allows players to be creative and bring fans to the edge of their seats.
There were some fantastic ball-handlers throughout NBA history, but ESPN analyst Richard Jefferson believes that we are witnessing the best to do it. He took on a Twitter post showing highlights of Kyrie’s best ball-handling skills, and this is what he had to say:
This is no disrespect to guys like AI Skip, Isiah, CP, Hardaway but Ky has the best NBA handle of all time. PERIOD https://t.co/fnqkI5wJj2— Richard Jefferson (@Rjeff24) March 24, 2020
In Cleveland, Richard Jefferson was Kyrie’s teammate, and the two won a championship together in a historic 3-1 comeback vs. Warriors in 2016. Jefferson had front-row seats for many of Kyrie’s unforgettable ball-handling moments.
That is not the first time Irving’s name was brought up when talking about the NBA’s best ball-handlers. Houston Rockets guard Eric Gordon also said that “Kyrie has the best handle of all time.”
Even the legendary ball-handler Jason Williams said that Irving is the best dribbler he has ever seen:
I think Kyrie’s got the best handle ever, man. To me, just because he can get to anywhere on the floor that he wants to get. He can get through cracks and crevices, you know, and he’s fast, and he can finish with either hand.Jason Wiliams
Many of the NBA analysts and journalists also believe that Kyrie is the best dribbler the league has ever seen. FOX’s Sports NBA analyst Chris Broussard in his podcast In The Zone, listed Kyrie as the player with the best handles of all time.
Top 5 Ball handlers in NBA history: https://t.co/1j2mC46Ad6— Chris Broussard (@Chris_Broussard) November 10, 2017
Kyrie’s fancy ball-handling came as a result of practicing the basics:
Everybody always asks, ‘What did you do as a kid to get your handle like this? And I tell them, ‘I just practiced simple moves first—like crossovers, between the legs, behind the back—and then I would work on combinations in isolation situations by myself.Kyrie Irving
As he perfected basic dribbles, Irving expanded his dribbling by adding “counters to every move that he does. “. Kyrie emphasizes the importance of being unpredictable as a ball-handler and always being in control:
You always want to have those just-in-case moves in your repertoire. You want to keep the defense guessing. I don’t want guys to know this is the move I’m going to do right now just because they watched it on film. If he knows what move I’m going to do, I’m going to have about two, three counters to it. That’s kind of how I practiced it.Kyrie Irving
Kyrie has a wide range of dribbling moves in his repertoire. That, combined with his incredible quickness and agility, makes him one of the toughest players to guard in today’s NBA. Whether you agree with Richard Jefferson or not, Kyrie belongs in the discussion about being the NBA’s best ball-handler of all time.