Kevin Durant Says Kyrie Irving Is Better Than Allen Iverson, Has 'More Skill'

Adam WellsFeatured ColumnistJune 14, 2017

CLEVELAND, OH - JUNE 07: Kyrie Irving #2 of the Cleveland Cavaliers handles the ball against Kevin Durant #35 and Stephen Curry #30 of the Golden State Warriors in the second half in Game 3 of the 2017 NBA Finals at Quicken Loans Arena on June 7, 2017 in Cleveland, Ohio. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement.  (Photo by Ronald Martinez/Getty Images)
Ronald Martinez/Getty Images

Kevin Durant got a firsthand account of what Kyrie Irving was capable of during the 2017 NBA Finals as the Golden State Warriors defeated the Cleveland Cavaliers in five games, and the 2013-14 MVP came away impressed.      

During a Tuesday appearance on The Bill Simmons Podcast, Durant said he believes Irving has a better offensive skill set than Philadelphia 76ers legend Allen Iverson, via SLAM Online's Ryne Nelson:

“I was telling some of my friends after Game 2, I was like, Kyrie, he just makes you happy when you watch him play. You just smile when you watch him play because for somebody to be that skilled, you know he had to work tirelessly at it. The stuff he has in his package is next-level stuff that you can try to teach your kids to do it, but you’ll never be able to do it.

[...]

“Kyrie is better than AI to me. I’m going from like skill for skill. His handle is better. We might have to cut that out—I don’t want no problems with AI. Y’all might have to cut that one. I don’t want that to get out. I’m just saying I feel like Kyrie got more skill.”

Iverson was one of the most prolific scorers in the NBA during his 14-year career. He led the league in scoring four times, was named to the All-NBA first team three times, won the 2000-01 NBA MVP award and was inducted into the Naismith Basketball Hall of Fame in 2016.

Irving is still in the early stages of his career. The 25-year-old has won an NBA title and been named to four All-Star teams, and his go-ahead three-pointer in the final minute of Game 7 of the 2016 NBA Finals is one of the most important moments in Cavaliers history. 

Even in this year's NBA Finals loss, Irving was terrific, shooting 47.2 percent overall (41.9 from three-point range) with an average of 29.4 points in five games. 

Injuries are the only thing that has held Irving back in his career, as he's missed at least 10 games in five of his six seasons. If Irving can avoid serious injuries for the remainder of his career, it may become hard to argue against Durant's point.