In one of What the Sports first articles we would like to address a comment that one of our writers has made time and time again. Noah Gross, our resident Cleveland fanatic, has now said on numerous occasions that he could take down Kyrie Irving in a 1 on 1 matchup. Yes, you read that right. Noah is a firm believer that his skills outweigh those of the man who hit the most important shot in Cavaliers history.
After hearing this argument again and again for an entire year, it’s time to settle the score once and for all. Could Noah beat the All-Star point guard? I was able to compare both of their skill sets to finally determine who would come out on top.
Simply putting it, Irving is one of the best scoring point guards in the league. Not only are his handles so good that my ankles break just watching him, but his ability to finish at the rim and shoot from three make him so lethal. Kyrie is a matchup nightmare for a lot of players, so I’m not sure how Noah compares to Uncle Drew on this side of the ball.
He’s not going to shoot the lights out of the gym or rock the rim with an emphatic dunk and yet Noah still strikes fear into so many unathletic kids looking to play pickup basketball. As a true point guard he has the ability to get you a bucket when it is needed. His intensity comes into play greatly when he is on offense. Noah will just go at it ferociously with no regard for human life until his face is red. He once dropped twenty points on me and I won my rec-league basketball championship in fourth grade, so that’s saying something.
What could cause Noah some problems is his jump shot. Similar to that of Kevin Martin, when Noah decides he is going to take a jumper a lot of people mumble “what is that?”. If this comes down to a three point shootout, things could get ugly fast.
If I did not pick Kyrie here I think a lot of people would question everything I know about sports. So that’s all I’m going to say about that.
Defense is not Irving’s forte. A below average defender, it is sometimes hard to watch the way Irving plays at this end of the floor. After hearing Noah constantly scream about how awful he is, I have taken notice. Irving has the tendency at times to be a little lazy when it comes to switching men and fighting over screens. However, it is good to remember that day in and day out Kyrie is faced with the challenge of having to guard some of the best players on the planet.
I once watched Noah risk tearing his ACL just to lock down someone during warmups before a pickup game. If that doesn’t show you how much he cares about defense then I don’t know what will. He may not have the size to matchup with Kyrie, but trust me he has the heart. I don’t think there is anyone on this planet who cares more about not getting scored on. After losing on a buzzer beater to Paul George in double overtime of his NBA 2K game, I am pretty sure Noah swore that he would never let anyone score on him ever again. I know Kyrie is good, but that is some next level psychopath stuff right there.
Am I just buying into the hype? Yes. Do I care? No. The main reason Noah believes he can beat Kyrie is because of his defensive ability compared to his. If I don’t give him the advantage here then there’s no fun in wondering who would win. Plain and simple, Noah wants it more and so I have to give him the advantage on defense.
Dealing with pressure
Pressure probably is not a problem for a man who hit the game winning three with a minute remaining in game seven of the NBA Finals. Kyrie has shown time and time again that no stage is too bright and no shot is too big for Irving.
Congrats Kyrie, you’ve hit a game winning shot. But have you ever been faced with five exams in a week on topics you did not even know you were learning about? That’s the life of Noah Gross. He is able to manage school work, journalism assignments and the gym while only having six mental breakdowns a week. No matter what he is faced with Noah is able to get the job done while at the same time ignoring all his responsibilities to finish an episode of “Friends”. You can’t teach that type of calm, only the greats have it.
There’s no shortage of confidence with Irving. Even if he’s having an off game, that won’t keep him from draining a step back three with the game on the line. If this game is not going Kyrie’s way I don’t expect him to let if affect his play in the later stages.
Kyrie’s confidence is great, but I can easily say I have never met someone with more confidence than Noah. If you bring up anything there’s a good chance he’ll say he could get it done. Throw a ball 100 yards? Easy work. Climb Mount Everest in only underwear? Nothing new for him. Take Floyd Mayweather down in one round? Maybe give him a challenge next time. When taking on an All-Star guard Noah is going to need confidence, and he has plenty of it.
Winner: Noah Gross
Well folks, I’m just as surprised as you. Realistically it is hard to imagine Noah taking down Kyrie just from doing an eye test. But when you look deep into who each player is, Noah’s unreal confidence and intensity may be just what he needs to take down one of Cleveland’s biggest stars. The world may never know what would happen if these two matched up but the next time you hear Noah say he could beat Kyrie, just know that there is some evidence to support it.