Kyrie Irving has a rather amazing knack for one day saying something uniquely insightful and the next day dropping a line that just makes you scratch your head.
The latter happened this week while Irving appeared on "The Etcs" podcast and essentially said the Cavaliers were better off having the ball in his hands late in games than LeBron James, back when they were teammates.
He also indicated his current Brooklyn Nets teammate Kevin Durant is better at closing games than James is.
"I felt like I was the best option on every team I’ve played for down the stretch. [With Durant,] this is the first time in my career where I can be like that mother------r can make that shot too," Irving said.
Irving and Durant are good players, in Durant's case a great player. Nothing can be taken away from them and what they can do on the basketball court. But James is on a completely different level than either of them, as objectively a top-five player all-time with a good argument to be one of the two or three best players ever.
Has he always come through in big moments? No, but it's still LeBron James we're talking about.
Irving, of course, has one of the most famous late-game shots in recent playoff history: the three he made against the Warriors with under a minute to go in Game 7 of the 2016 NBA Finals. It helped lift the Cavs to their first title. James also had a clutch moment in that game, if you recall, with his chasedown block of Andre Iguodala.
Consider this: James has made seven buzzer-beaters in his NBA career. Durant has done it three times. Irving has never made a single one (via Basketball-Reference).
James is also one of the best passers of all-time, another reason to have the ball in his hands, and a much more efficient scorer than Irving. His career effective field goal percentage (54.1) stacks right up there with Durant's (54.2).
So, in a hypothetical scenario where we're choosing players to close a game, you can have Irving or Durant. I'll take LeBron.