Portland Trail Blazers head coach Chauncey Billups holds a high regard for Brooklyn Nets star Kyrie Irving.
Prior to the Blazers’ clash against the Nets on Monday, Billups told the media that Irving is the most skilled player out of the point guard position due to its skills and basketball wizardry.
“Kyrie is just, he’s a wizard, man,” Billups said, per Nick Friedell of ESPN. “He’s must-see TV. I personally think, as somebody that played the position, I think Kyrie’s the most skilled player that’s ever played that position.
“Just straight skill. Nothing else. Just straight skill, I think he’s the best that I’ve ever seen at the position, skill-wise. So obviously he gives you a ton when he’s playing.”
Irving, who is now playing his second game for the Nets this season, is currently slated as a part-time player, after the franchise controversially decided to allow him to play last month amid vaccination issues and the New York City COVID guidelines. With James Harden out due to a knee soreness, his scoring prowess is much-needed to increase Brooklyn’s chances to grab the dub against the shorthanded Portland.
“His shot-making is incredible,” Billups added. “He’s a better passer than people give him credit for. He’s obviously a willing teammate. He’s not just all about Kyrie. He passes the ball. He’s a champion. He brings championship pedigree to the table. I think he hit maybe the biggest shot that I ever seen in NBA Finals history, that I seen.”
Yet, the 2004 NBA Finals MVP remains doubtful of how the Nets will handle the on and off participation of Irving, as the seven-time All-star is only allowed to suit up for road games.
“I just think it’s going to be tough,” Billups said. “Obviously when you got the two dudes that they have [in Durant and Harden] minus Kyrie, there’s a chance that it can work anyway … they’re doing a good job of just kind of understanding and knowing that they’re almost going to be like two different teams. When Ky is there, and when he’s not. And the good luxury that they have is that they can be a great team — both teams are great teams.”
With Irving, who might hopefully change his mind about his vaccine stance due to the increasing competition in the East and looming pandemic threats, within the lineup, Brooklyn is set to glide as one of the clear title favorites this 2021-2022 campaign.
Though there are plenty of all-time great point guards that already graced the court from past to present, no one shall deny the one-time champion’s overwhelming talent and savvy approach in playing the game.