In eighth grade, Kyrie Irving would devote hours late into the night to practice what he called “simple moves.” Crossovers and behind-the-back dribbles. He learned to use them like Mortal Kombat combinations – a hesitation step mixed with a between-the-legs dribble to keep his defenders guessing.
Today, those “simple moves” have turned into an art form and a skill tactic. He doesn’t dribble, he dazzles, and every calculated move he makes stands out in the NBA. Sure, there’s the James Harden’s crossover or Steph Curry’s shot off the dribble, but Irving’s game is fluid, calculated, dangerous.
Though his time in Boston was short, we looked back on some of his best moves in a Celtics uniform.
The Kyrie Irving Handle Package: Celtics Edition
? vs Philly: Behind-the-Back to Split Defenders
There’s the behind-the-back dribble into a spin move, a behind-the-back pass, a behind-the-back dribble to get him to the three point line. Irving has made this “simple move” a deadly weapon to give him options around the arc, to get past defenders, or to dish out dimes to his teammates.
? vs Jazz: Between-the-Legs, Behind-the-Back dribble to the 3-pt line
His ball-handling (and a nice pick from Al Horford) allowed him to get this 3-pt shot off.
? vs Hawks: In-and-Out, Behind-the-Back, Between-the-Legs Dribble
With two defenders on him, Irving manages to leave them guessing. Will he pass it next? One defender leaves him. Will he shoot it? The other defender barely steps up to block his shot. It all started with this move. Sheesh.
? vs Philly: Fancy footwork with the Hesitation
Irving rocks Jimmy Butler using this quick footwork.
? vs Pacers: Spin Move
Kyrie makes this look effortless, as if he’s gliding. He throws in a little behind-the-back to get his defender off balance, and then changes directions so quickly, Darren Collison falls to his feet.
He can do this in transition, too.
?vs Lakers: Dribbling at its Finest
Irving manages to get past every single Laker on the floor, using his different moves to get to the rim.
? vs Bucks: Dribble with Spin Move
None of these guys could stop him, or his crossover-between-the-legs spin move for the finish.
? vs Grizzlies/Suns: Behind-the-Back-Dime
Everyone talked about this move. Irving made it seem like he was driving the lane, but instead, he perfectly dished a behind-the-back feed to Marcus Smart, right on the three-point line. Then he did it for Jayson Tatum.
He also did this with Al Horford. Ah, the memories.
? vs Hawks: Fake Pass with the Lob
A fake pass so elite, he fooled us.