Kyrie Irving is coming off a championship season with the Cleveland Cavaliers, while Jimmy Butler’s Chicago Bulls are trending the opposite way.
Both were selected to Team USA and will represent the country at the 2016 Olympics in Rio later in August. The two will see plenty of each other in practice but Iriving wants to take it a step further.
Irving wants to challenge Jimmy G. Buckets – the G stands for gets – to 1-on-1 battles daily. He sees it as an opportunity for both to get better on their respective ends of the floor:
Irving is known for his shifty handle and crafty offensive skill set, as well as a lethal crossover. Butler is widely regarded as one of the better two way players in the game, but is universally lauded for his defensive prowess and is one of the few players in the game that you’d be comfortable leaving on a island with the likes of LeBron James, Kevin Durant, Paul George, etc.
This isn’t the first time that Kyrie has challenged a teammate to a 1-on-1 battle: he did the same with Kobe Bryant as a member of the Team USA Select team back in 2012.
In honor of Kyrie wearing Kobe's #10 with the USA team this summer, we flashback to a little USA trash talk. pic.twitter.com/cACBn3lgHs
— Hoops Village (@HoopVillage) June 27, 2016
While Butler on Irving will be an undoubtedly intense battle, one to pay attention to as well is on the opposite side of the court: when Butler is on offense and Kyrie is defending him.
Kyrie isn’t a person you’d associate with great defense, and Butler’s isolation game could use some work. Perhaps Jimmy will return with a solid post game or a fadeaway move.
Irving is one of the premier isolation players, so it’ll be interesting to see whether or not Butler takes the call publicly. Jimmy, however, has never been one that is short on self-confidence, so I’d expect that he’ll say something in the forthcoming days about Kyrie’s challenge.