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NBA Players Comparison: Damian Lillard vs. Kyrie Irving

Damian Lillards vs. Kyrie Irving

Who is a better player, Damian Lillard or Kyrie Irving? Check NBA players comparison.



Damian Lillard (POR)

26.5 PPG, 45%, 35%, 89%

Ah, scoring, the most coveted stat in all of the basketball, and Damian Lillard's strong suit. Lillard is seventh in scoring in the NBA, and he can do almost everything when it comes to putting the ball in the basket. Lillard has one of the best jump shots in the league and has proved it by doing well in several three-point contests. Along with the jump shot, he has also made a dunk contest in his 5-year career, in 2014, where he did well but didn't pull away with a W. Lillard is one of the best pure scorers in the league, as he has superb driving abilities. He can burn you with speed by going all the way to the rack or hit a floater over you.

Lillard scores the majority of his points on the drive, but he has arguably the second best range in the league. Lillard can hit anything from 23 to even 29 feet with ease. Lillard does not shoot an incredible percentage, as his FG and 3PT percentages are lower than that of Kyrie, as Lillard is forced to shoot more due to much more of a lack of another talent, who has great percentages. Lillard scores a lot from the line too, as he is a 90%+ free throw shooter. His combination of a great foul drawing ability and a great free throw shooting ability amounts to a lot of points from the charity stripe. Like Kyrie, Dame is clutch, but a different clutch than Kyrie. Dame is comeback fourth quarter clutch, while Kyrie is last shot clutch, as he has hit two game-sealers against the Warriors since June. Lillard is often streaky, however, from behind the arc and can shoot a bad percentage sometimes, which explains his inefficient percentages. Overall, though, Lillard is a pure scorer, and seventh in the league in scoring doesn't lie.

Kyrie Irving (CLE)

24.2 PPG, 47%, 41%, 89%

Like Lillard, Scoring is where Kyrie makes his impact on the game, as his scoring numbers while competing for shots shows how pure of a scorer Irving is. Irving is twelfth in the league in scoring in a very tightly contested scoring list, mostly from his crazy finishing ability. Unlike Lillard, Kyrie doesn't dunk a lot, but his finishing on layups, lay-ins, floaters, and teardrops is exceptional. Getting to the hoop isn't a problem for Irving, as he has arguably (A very good one) the best handles in the game, and maybe even all time. Uncle Drew can speed by a defender, and then use his superb athletic layups ability to get two on the board no matter what, and sometimes a chance for three, which brings me to his skills at the charity stripe.

Like Lillard, a great number of Irving's points come from the line. Irving shoots 89% from the line, and that 89% turns into a lot of points as he gets to the stripe a great number of times per game. Kyrie is also one of the best in getting and ones, but that is not even close to the only way Kyrie can put three on the board. Kyrie has one of the best jump shots in the league, and his range doesn't end at the arc, as he has shown us some of the deepest range in the league, just not as consistently as Dame D.O.L.L.A. Kyrie has been in many three point contests in his short career, and, like Lillard, has done quite well with his wet jumper. If Kyrie had more of a mid-range and above the basket game, I think he would win, but I think scoring should go to Lillard, and the numbers prove me right.

Verdict: Damian Lillard (POR)



Damian Lillard (POR)

6.3 APG, 2.7 TOV

With scoring done, it's time for a stat that is becoming a secondary for point guards, including these two, passing. The essential point of a point guard (see what I did there) is to set up his teammates and to run the offense. Lillard is not a great passer, and it is not really his fault due to a lack of other stars on his team. "Well poster, he has McCollum, are you dumb?" No. I'm not. Despite CJ being such a great shooter and scorer, if you watch the games you can tell, the only place he scores is in the ISO, which doesn't allow for him to be set up for an instant score.

Even with this handicap, Dame still does a good job of running the offense and setting his teammates up, as he averages a pretty solid 6.2 assists a night. Dame also doesn't take the ball up as much as he should, sometimes letting McCollum, Harkless, and, yes, often Plumlee. Lillard is not a pass first player, and the offense that they run does not usually imply Dame doing the playmaking, as communal ball movement leading to an open look from beyond the arc is how the Blazers score their points in bunches. Lillard is still a top 15-20 passer and still puts up solid numbers for today's game.

Kyrie Irving (CLE)

6.0 APG, 2.6 TOV

Much like Lillard, Kyrie's game does not shine on passing. His numbers are pretty similar to Dame's as he averages .2 less at 6.0 Assists per game. Unlike Dame, Kyrie has no excuses for not averaging more assists as he does because Kyrie is covered in talent like Love and LeBron. Yes, I know LeBron runs point a lot, but Kyrie definitely runs a lot of it as well. The Cavs’ offensive system does not involve ball movement like that of the Blazers, but it either involves Kyrie or LeBron on the Iso or Kyrie or LeBron setting up teammates for scores. Playmaking.

Unlike Lillard, Kyrie again has no excuse, this time for turnovers. Yes, Kyrie averages fewer turnovers than dame, but in the fast-paced 10 second Trailblazer offense, there is more room for turnovers than the Cavs’ slowed down a 20-second offense, where Kyrie has a while to make a play. A lot of Kyrie’s turnovers also come from him trying to do too much off of the dribble, where he uses his incredible handles often a bit too much and gets way too fancy instead of playing with fundamentals. Even with all of these advantages for Kyrie, he STILL averages .3 fewer assists per game. This category won't end up making too much impact on the final verdict due to a close finish and the fact that passing is the second option in both of their games, but I have to decide a verdict and I do think that Dame pulls away in this category due to his handicaps.

Verdict: Damian Lillard (POR)



Damian Lillard (POR)

0.8 STL, 0.3 BLK, 4.7 RPG, 105.2 DEFRTG

Oh boy. Oh boy. There’s no sugarcoating it. Dame is an absolutely horrid defender, and the stats 7 surely do back up. First off, dame is subpar amongst point guards in steals and blocks, which doesn't exactly make a good impression off of the immediate stat sheet, but when you look into advanced stats, you see even more how bad of a defender in the league. Lillard is second in defensive rating, the second worst that is. He is also .1 behind the worst defensive rating held by teammate Allen Crabbe, .1 ahead of teammate Evan Turner, and less than 1 ahead of the other half of the Blazers backcourt duo, CJ McCollum. You didn't know that the Blazers, and Dame, are a terrible defensive team? Well, there you go.

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Now, enough talk about the team, we are here to talk about the players. I have already talked about the defensive rating stat in my Chris Paul blog, so I don't really need to go too deep into the stat. The one thing that you do need to know if you are unfamiliar with advanced stats is that they portray a player’s effectiveness and/or skill much better than normal stats can. When you are that bad at a stat like this, which has been proven to show a player's skill at that area quite well, it means you aren't very good at that, in this case, defense. Now, we could give him a little bit of a 'harden break' because he carries all of the offensive load, but he has to play at least acceptable defense.

Kyrie Irving (CLE)

1.1 STL, 0.1 BLK, 3.5 REB, 110.3 DEFRTG

Now before we get started here, let's get one thing straight. Kyrie is no defensive genius himself. When you look at the basic stats, it appears as if Lillard is better, but when you delve into the advanced ones, Kyrie seems better. Kyrie and Lillard both have the same blocks and steals, but dame leads rebounds by .9. However, when you look at the defensive rating, you see that he is quite better at defense than Lillard. In my opinion, I think no basic stat quite emulates a player's effectiveness on defense, which is why I am stressing on these stats so much in this section, and rightfully so. Kyrie is just over 50 spots ahead of Lillard (Worst Wise), sitting at 57th worst.

However, Kyrie’s defensive rating is no great achievement, as he sits in the bottom 25% of all defensive ratings, but it is still better than sitting in the bottom 1% like Lillard is. Despite having a terrible defensive rating, Kyrie can actually be a lockdown defender in crunch time, which was eminent in the finals last year, when he held Steph to a terrible finals performance. If only Kyrie played like this every minute of every game, we wouldn’t just consider him a top 8 point guard. We might even be calling him a top 8 player! But he still doesn’t do this on a regular basis so we can only predict… Anyway, Kyrie is the easy winner of this category, and let’s move on to Leadership right now.

Verdict: Kyrie Irving (CLE)


PORTLAND, OR - MAY 2: Damian Lillard #0 of the Portland Trail Blazers after the game against the Houston Rockets in Game Six of the Western Conference Quarterfinals during the 2014 NBA Playoffs on May 2, 2014 at the Moda Center in Portland, Oregon. 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. Mandatory Copyright Notice: Copyright 2014 NBAE (Photo by Sam Forencich/NBAE via Getty Images)

Mandatory Copyright Notice: Copyright 2014 NBAE (Photo by Sam Forencich/NBAE via Getty Images)

Damian Lillard (POR)

It's over, phew. Now for Leadership. Dame is an excellent leader, and what he has been doing with the Trail Blazers, minus this season, has proved me right. Last year, despite losing every starter but Dame, he was STILL able to lead his team to the fifth seed in a tight western conference. And with the starters they had the year before, they lost in five games, but when dame stepped up and took the throne from Aldridge, they ended up beating an injury-riddled Clippers team in six, before losing to the Warriors in five. If that's not leadership, well, to be honest, I don't know what is.

I know from personal experience and through others that Dame is a great person as well, not that Kyrie isn't. You might tell me, “Well Poster, how can Kyrie lead a team when he has LeBron leading his now, well, he played in Cleveland before there was anyone better than him, and all he got was two first overall picks, one was Anthony Bennett, and one was Andrew Wiggins (Traded for Kevin Love). We’ll save that for the Kyrie section because, like every fourth quarter, it’s Dame time. Anyway, I have much more to say about Kyrie, so let's move on to his section.

Kyrie Irving (CLE)

This may be biased, but Kyrie is a horrid leader, and this was prominent when he played alone in Cleveland, not surrounded by talents such as LeBron and Love, but surrounded by talent even better, like Luol Deng, Dion Waiters, and Tristan Thompson! Just Kidding. That was a terrible team, similar to last year’s Blazers, except they won 20 fewer games and earned the #1 pick in the draft (Anthony Bennett). That’s not very good leadership if you ask me. He can't lead a team nearly as well as Lillard, and I think that is pretty clear.

Not satisfied, well, I have another stat for you. In 2012-13, Kyrie had the fourth-highest usage rate and averaged only 21 points per game. Meanwhile, Dame was 37th in usage and averaged 19 points per game on his way to a rookie of the year title. Still not convinced, go join hardwood. Kyrie has not led a team successfully, nor has he come even close to leading a team like Lillard has.

Dame wins the leadership and it was an easy one.

Verdict: Damian Lillard (POR)



Now it's time for me to make a final verdict, and it's the easiest decision I have ever made. Lillard pulls away with it because he is a much more well-rounded player than Kyrie. Minus defense, Dame passes Kyrie in every category and scoring, which is pretty much all Kyrie does, Dame still pulls away with the victory. Passing was pretty close, still a Lillard win, Scoring was a little less close, a Lillard win, and Defense and Leadership were both blowouts, Kyrie for Defense and Lillard for Leadership. Another blowout was the Conclusion, and Lillard wins it.

Final Verdict: Damian Lillard (POR)

After the conclusion, who would you rather have Damian Lillard or Kyrie Irving?

Credit: The Poster


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