Brooklyn Nets

Brooklyn Nets star guard Kyrie Irving's one-of-a-kind basketball wizardry in three plays

irving-ftr.jpeg
Kyrie Irving [NBA Getty Images]

I'd like to imagine that if Brooklyn Nets star guard Kyrie Irving didn't go to Duke University, he had a backup plan of attending Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry.

With his yo-yo-like handles, shifty, misdirectional, read-and-react moves, tough-shot-making ability and delicate touch around the basket, Irving practices magic on a nightly basis when he takes the basketball court.

The 29-year-old is enjoying one of the best years of his career, posting averages of 27.3 points, 6.5 assists, 5.0 rebounds and 1.3 steals per game while shooting a career-high 50.7 percent from the field to go with 39.0 percent from 3-point range and 92.3 percent from the free throw line.

How can a player average that many points at that level of efficiency while also taking highly difficult shots throughout the night? There's only one answer: sorcery.

According to Basketball-Reference, only three other players in NBA history have averaged at least 25 points while shooting at least 50 percent from the field, 38 percent from 3 and 90 percent from the free throw line over one season: Larry Bird (twice), Kevin Durant and Stephen Curry.

And even those three all-time greats can't do some of the things we see Irving do with the basketball on a nightly basis.

These three(-plus) plays below can only be done by one player in the NBA today, and that's Kyrie Irving.

The ambidextrous floater

While we've seen players like Mike Conley utilize the off-hand floater as a primary weapon, it doesn't matter if Irving is going to his right or his left. He's always in his comfort zone when he gets to his feathery floater.

He got Matisse Thybulle - who is one of the better on-ball perimeter defenders in the NBA with extremely active hands - twice in a matter of minutes just one week ago.

The spin move is nasty. Even after a solid defensive possession, Thybulle gets completely left in the dust as Irving gets an open look for the righty floater.

And if he can do it with his right, he can do it with his left, too.

Thybulle actually gets a hand on that one before Irving resumes play, business as usual. With three bodies swarmed around him, he still gets the off-hand lefty floater to fall.

As a defender, you just have to shake your head and laugh.

The spin move or half-spin move?

Another one of Irving's signature moves that always keeps the defender guessing.

A couple of weeks ago, Irving got New York Knicks wing Reggie Bullock with his patented half-spin, and Bullock actually recovered pretty well. But the defence didn't matter, as Irving rose up over his out-stretched hand and banked in the jumper.

Sheesh.

One week later, if Los Angeles Lakers guard Talen Horton-Tucker watched that previous play on film, he probably thought he knew what was coming here. He didn't.

At the same spot on the floor, Irving looks like he's going to go back to that half-spin. He even used a half-spin-hesitation to render even more confusion before finishing the spin move for a fadeaway jumper. Again, pretty impressive defence, just better offence.

The ... call for help

There's no name to even describe what Irving did to New Orleans Pelicans centre Steven Adams not long ago.

Inside-out, step-back hesi into a between-the-legs step-back. Adams was somehow with him every step of the way and Eric Bledsoe even came over to help. Still, nothing but the bottom of the net. Are you kidding me?

This angle of the play from the Nets official Twitter account does an even better job of encapsulating the absurdity:

The craziest part about all of these highlights: they each came in the month of April. You don't have to dig too far to find them. That just goes to show how frequently he puts on a wizardry display that would make Harry Potter proud.

When Kyrie Irving is on the floor, you won't want to miss a second of the action because at any given moment, he might pull a rabbit out of a hat.

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