Kyrie Irving's 60-point game against the Magic -- career high and Nets' franchise record -- prompted praise from the entire NBA community. But the Knicks' Evan Fournier went a step further, declaring the Nets' star "the most skilled player ever" following his historic performance.
Kendrick Perkins doubles down on Fournier's tweet
I'm doubling down on Evan Fournier and saying [Kyrie] is the most skilled player to ever play the game. And it's no disrespect to Michael Jordan, it's no disrespect to the late, great Kobe Bryant, it's no disrespect to Olajuwon and a lot of others.
Kendrick Perkins, ESPN
Months ago, Chauncey Billups proclaimed Kyrie to be the most skilled point guard in the history of the game. Caris LeVert, Irving's now former teammate in Brooklyn, also put him in a class of his own skill-wise, regardless of the position. Perk explained why he's ready to do the same thing.
"When you look at what Kyrie is doing, it's not what he is doing, it's how he does it," Perkins said. "At 6-2 he has the complete offensive package. Being able to finish around the basket, he has an elite post-up game, a guy that probably has the best handles in NBA history. And when his jumper is falling from the three-point line, it is over. There’s nothing you can do as far as scheme-wise, double team, triple team to stop this young man when he has it going!”
Prisoner of the moment
Kyrie's name has been mentioned in the most skilled debates for a while now -- he's already secured the title of being the game's best finishing guard ever, and arguably the greatest ball-handler the NBA has ever seen. But to say he's the most skilled out of everyone that's ever played seems a bit much.
Historic performances prompt all-time debates, and somehow, it seems that the recent always gets the edge over the past. To say Perkins' argument is the textbook example of being a prisoner of the moment would be an understatement of Irving's greatness, who without a doubt belongs in this discussion. But is there a better explanation?
Plus, we still haven't established what we're debating when talking about the most skilled ever. Is it only offense? Does efficiency matter? Is it just the eye-test, or do the numbers count as well?
Last time I checked, basketball is a two way game. If playing defense is not a skill, than how do you categorize it? And if it is, how can anyone put Kyrie above the likes of Jordan, Kobe, Hakeem, etc?
Offense-alone, Kyrie is up there for sure. When disecting his offensive repertoire, and judging him by particular skills, there are categories he undoubtabley tops. But overall, assuming defense matters, there's no way he should be declared the the most skilled player ever.