Kyrie Irving, fresh off a 40-point performance on Thursday, is in the midst of a career year. The Brooklyn Nets star is averaging a career-high 27.7 points to go along with 4.9 rebounds and 5.9 assists. He’s also shooting at a highly efficient clip, with a 51.6 field-goal percentage, a 42.0 3-point percentage and an 89.2 free-throw percentage.
But those numbers have less to do with what makes Irving one of the most exciting players to watch in the NBA. It’s more his on-court grace, his handles, his clutch gene.
On Friday, another one of the league’s top guards weighed in.
ALL the latest Nets news straight to your inbox! Join the Heavy on Nets newsletter here!
Damian Lillard Chimes In
After Irving went off for 40 points (on 15-of-23 shooting), eight rebounds and three assists in Brooklyn’s 121-109 win over the Boston Celtics on Thursday, ballislife posted about it on Instagram. Damian Lillard, the Portland Trail Blazers star, then posted a comment in response.
“Most beautiful game in history,” Lillard wrote.
That’s some awfully high praise from the six-time All-Star who is one of the game’s best shooters and playmakers in his own right.
Still, it’s a relatively popular sentiment surrounding Irving.
In a March 5 article entitled “Kyrie Irving generation: Meet the NBA point guards who emulate the Nets star”, The Athletic’s Alex Schiffer quoted Atlanta Hawks rising star Trae Young as throwing similarly high praise at Irving, albeit from a different perspective.
“I remember how he used to always work on his handle,” Young told Schiffer. “Whenever they came out for layup lines, I remember he used to work on his handle from sideline to sideline and just dribbling, feeling the ball. I added that to mine. I do that whenever we come out to shoot or do layups.
“If you’re a fan of basketball, you’ve watched Kyrie. If you’re a fan of getting better, you watch Kyrie. He’s extremely talented offensively. There are not many guys that can score as he does. I’ve tried to take as much as I could.”
Follow the Heavy on Nets Facebook page for the latest breaking news, rumors and content out of Brooklyn!
Lillard Has Snuck Into Kyrie’s Comments Section Before
It’s worth noting: This wasn’t the first time Lillard has taken to Instagram to comment on something Irving-related.
In early December, Irving said that he wouldn’t be talking with reporters. He wrote in a statement that “my goal this season is to let my work on and off the court speak for itself,” per ESPN’s Malika Andrews.
Then, on December 12, Irving held an Instagram Live session. Lillard snuck into the comments section with a message for Irving.
“Ky bra do your media sessions,” Lillard wrote, accompanying that message with three laughing emojis, per Bleacher Report’s Taylor Rooks.
A few minutes later, Lillard had a follow-up message: “Sir please do your media sessions.” He followed that with three more laughing emojis.