While some critics still remain for Kyrie Irving, it’s hard to deny his overall abilities on the offensive end of the floor. He has adapted to playing alongside LeBron James and is learning to combine his scoring with playmaking off-ball, making him one of the deadliest scorers in the league.
Despite the critics, it’s clear that most players have come to respect what Irving brings on the basketball court. During a Twitter question and answer, Avery Bradley was asked who the toughest player to defend in the league is.
Kyrie. Not even close. - AB https://t.co/8cEKwtSu6O— Detroit Pistons (@DetroitPistons) July 13, 2017
Bradley is one of the best defenders in the league at the guard position. The trade to send him out of Boston will help eliminate one of the headaches the Cavs have to deal with when they play the Celtics. After adding a solid offensive game, Bradley has evolved into one of the most complete players at a position where high-end talent can be scarce.
During the Eastern Conference Finals, Irving shot 61.1 percent with Bradley on the court, and 100 percent when he sat (two shot disclaimer). Despite often being in position and forcing Irving into tough shots, he still went supernova in the series breaking out of his slump from the previous rounds.
Recency bias may cloud Bradley’s answer, but Irving has also had a fair amount of success against him in the past. During the regular season Irving shot 51.9 percent with Bradley on the court (55 percent with him off). When you look at the 43.5 percent Steph Curry shot with Bradley on the court, or John Wall’s 33.3 field goal percentage against Bradley, it’s no surprise that he would go with a player that’s had the most recent success against him. (All stats via: http://stats.nba.com/impact/)