Skip to main content

Kendrick Perkins says Kyrie Irving is the most skilled NBA player ever, just ahead of Kobe Bryant

ESPN's NBA analyst Kendrick Perkins explained why Kyrie Irving is the most skilled player we've ever seen following his historic 60-point game against the Orlando Magic
ESPN analyst Kendrick Perkins explains why Brookly Nets star Kyrie Irving is more skilled than the Lakers legend Kobe Bryant

Kendrick Perkins explains why Kyrie Irving is more skilled than Kobe Bryant

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

The whole thing could've gone under radar, if ESPN's NBA analyst Kendrick Perkins hadn't done the same thing during the latest episode of NBA Today

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.

Scroll to Continue

Recommended Articles

"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.

Milwaukee Bucks forward Khris Middleton, guard Jrue Holiday, and forward Giannis Antetokounmpo

The Milwaukee Bucks to host youth programs as part of the NBA Abu Dhabi Games

Milwaukee Bucks and Atlanta Hawks will be the first NBA teams to play in Abu Dhabi

Phoenix Suns' forward Jae Crowder defending Chicago Bulls' star DeMar DeRozan

Can the Chicago Bulls make a trade for disgruntled Phoenix Suns forward Jae Crowder?

Find out if the Chicago Bulls can acquire disgruntled Phoenix Suns small forward, Jae Crowder.

Chicago Bulls head coach Billy Donovan with Lonzo Ball

Chicago Bulls head coach Billy Donovan bracing for the entire season without Lonzo Ball

The Bulls are preparing themselves to be competitive while they wait on the health of starting guard Lonzo Ball. Here's what their head coach had to say about the matter.

Dallas Mavericks head coach Jason Kidd

"You can't say, 'This is the way I would do it'" — Jason Kidd explains why he never forced his players to emulate his playing style

Kidd's experience on the Lakers coaching staff has proven to be extrememly valuable in his evolution as a coach.

Houston Rockets center Hakeem Olajuwon

Greg Anthony singles out the most underrated part of Hakeem Olajuwon's on-court skillset

Everyone praises Hakeem's footwork. Greg Anthony praised his God-given instincts for the game.

Los Angeles Lakers head coach Darvin Ham and general manager Rob Pelinka

How the Los Angeles Lakers could take advantage of the NBA's new rule

The new NBA rule could benefit the Lakers if they implement a run-and-gun system.

North Carolina Tar Heels guard Michael Jordan

“No one knew me until then” — Michael Jordan revealed the most satisfying time of his basketball career

Michael Jordan will never forget his time in North Carolina because of the pressure he had to conquer to make a name for himself.