Basketball Hall of Famer Tracy McGrady was a recent guest on “Club Shay Shay” with Shannon Sharpe. The former NBA baller discussed a number of topics, including his belief that Kevin Durant and Kyrie Irving are the most skilled basketball duo ever. That’s quite the statement, and as usual it led to wild internet debates.
“LeBron and D-Wade, skill-wise,” said McGrady. “Are not touching KD and Kyrie.”
As usual people want to argue and yell about their favorite duo and why McGrady is wrong. But often times the people making the argument against, aren’t arguing the same point.
McGrady didn’t say KD and Kyrie were the best duo, nor the winningest duo. So anyone that brings up championships, finals appearances, head-to-head matchups are not arguing the same point.
Sharpe and McGrady started the conversation discussing skill. A player’s ability to dribble, pass, shoot, and finish at the rim with either hand.
When former players critique or assess skill, they are looking at things through a lens that fans can’t. No matter how much film or what the advanced numbers say.
A former player approaches things from the standpoint of having been on the floor and knowing what is and isn’t possible. McGrady is a Hall of Famer. For a two-year stretch he was top five in the league. Top 10 for about a five-year run. You don’t ascend to that level without possessing elite skill and seeing elite skill around you.
Sure Michael Jordan and Scottie Pippen won more, as did LeBron James and Dwyane Wade. But are those duos more skilled than KD and Kyrie?
For their part, LeBron and Wade agreed with McGrady.
I see no lie told! They are 2 of the most skilled players of ALL-TIME
— LeBron James (@KingJames) April 20, 2022
Unfortunately these days when you praise one person or group, people assume it’s a dig or a shot at another.
KD and Kyrie can be the most skilled duo ever, and LeBron and D-Wade can be a better duo. Or, KD and Kyrie can be the most skilled duo ever, and you can prefer Kobe and Shaq.
Two things can be true at once. No need for an either or in this discussion.
At 6 feet 2 Irving is a three-level scorer. He has the best handles in the history of the game and uses it to create space and get to his preferred spots all over thee floor. He can finish at the rim among the giants with either hand and is an excellent passer.
KD is a 7-foot shooting guard. Also a three level scorer who is deadly in the mid-range. Handle and shooting ability at his height is not normal. He might be the best bucket getter the game has ever seen, and that’s not hyperbole. If he doesn’t miss two seasons with a Jones fracture and a torn Achilles, KD is one of eight players in NBA history over 30,000 career points.
KD and Kyrie will likely never win a title as a duo, but that’s not how to define skill. Turn on a game and watch these two master craftsman go to work. Watch what they are able to do on a basketball floor with other giants trying to stop them. When they pull of amazing feats ask yourself, who else could’ve just done that?