Way before Allen Iverson and Stephen Curry were bruising ankles, it was Tim Hardaway who was heralded as the crossover king. His move, tagged as the UTEP two-step, was one of the most lethal moves in the 90s. Though he retired in 2003, Hardaway still keeps a keen eye on the game, particularly on James Harden and Kyrie Irving. From his point of view, the guards’ dribbling maneuvers have one inherent weakness.
The Beard and Kyrie’s handles
It’s inevitable that Hardaway would compare his killer crossover move to the handles of Harden and Irving — two of the most exciting 1-on-1 masters today. Hardaway’s crossover was quick and simple. It required just two moves: a between-the-legs dribble followed by a basic crossover.
It’s a stark contrast to the Beard and Kyrie’s handles which are peppered with a plethora of dribbles and feints. From Hardaway’s point of view, the two All-Stars are trying to do too much. And this is where their weakness lies.
“James Harden plays with it a little bit too much. Kyrie Irving plays with it a little too much. Instead of making the play and then going straight to the rim, they’re thinking of [the highlight]. But it’s still cool to shake someone one time and then get right to the rim! You don’t need to shake a guy multiple times on one possession. Like I said, that just exerts too much energy,” Hardaway said, per Hoops Hype.
From the looks of it, stamina hasn’t been an issue for Kyrie - James Harden promises it won't be next season. But Hardaway is probably trying to drive home another point: guys should prioritize mastering the fundamentals.
This is the same thing that Michael Jordan and Kobe Bryant preached. Flashy moves are great. They get the job done and provide entertainment for the fans. But as MJ and Kobe have demonstrated, you can get by your defender through simple maneuvers. All you need to learn is when and how to use them. Before you know it, you have a couple of championship rings on your fingers.
Perhaps this isn’t much of a critique against Kyrie and Harden. Hardaway respects these players and he’s confident that he knows what they’re doing. He just wants young players to master the basics first before pulling out the flashy moves. If they harbor NBA dreams, it’s best to hone their fundamentals and stick with them.