THE KAI REPORT

The Most Detailed Skill Study Ever Performed

Welcome to the KAI Report - the deepest study of Kyrie Irving’s skill-sets ever performed. We tracked 10 consecutive games, 649 possessions, and reported every skill used. Amazingly, Kyrie Irving performed 176 unique skills in just 10 games.

Each possession, every dribble, every step, and every technique was tracked and reported, allowing us to better understand the skills and techniques used by the world's most skilled basketball player.

This page is dedicated to the findings of that study. Welcome to the KAI Report. Enjoy!

Welcome to the KAI Report - the deepest study of Kyrie Irving’s skill-sets ever performed. We tracked 10 consecutive games, 649 possessions, and reported every skill used. Amazingly, Kyrie Irving performed 176 unique skills in just 10 games.

Each possession, every dribble, every step, and every technique was tracked and reported, allowing us to better understand the skills and techniques used by the world's most skilled basketball player.

This page is dedicated to the findings of that study. Welcome to the KAI Report. Enjoy!

THE 1-2 STEP CATEGORY

For this episode, we might be entering some controversy. This is where the preferences of many run into the real data of a player like Kyrie Irving. It's no secret that Jump Stop footwork is heavily emphasized and many times favored as the primary taught footwork by coaches and programs around the world. 

But what is our responsibility when we discover that one of the most skilled basketball players the game has ever seen, uses those skills primarily with 1-2 style stops? 

Consider the numbers below, as you watch the video:

Total Jump Stops: 25

Total Speed Stops: 118 (46% of stops)

Total 1-2 Stops: 224 (87.5% of stops)

A 1-2 Stop is a broad category of all types of stops that use a rhythm of one foot followed by the other. This footwork allows for players to stop during any step without breaking stride, whether stopping first with their inside foot or their outside foot. This is the reason why a skilled player like Kyrie can play with the freedom and creativity he can.

You can never tell when he's going to stop because he can stop at any moment. 

A Jump Stop, however, while still a useful footwork (after all, Kyrie still used it 25 times), is much more predictable. Because a Jump Stop starts with a skip and then lands on two feet, defenders can tell when a jump stop is about to occur and also when it's occurring.

All in all, if a player wants to be creative and wants to utilize skills and play with freedom, a variety of 1-2 stops is key. Players who conform to using Jump Stops alone will more than likely never move out of the role player category. And maybe that's the point for some coaches and programs...to predict and control.

For players, however, the data seems to be showing that the 1-2 stop is crucial. Specifically, the Speed Stop itself is key, which we will discuss in detail in the next episode of the Kai Report.

THE PUNCH DRAG

Drag Stop: "The ability to stop on the outside leg, while leaving the inside foot behind as an anchor."

Punch: "An urgent, reactive, protective, and shortened pound dribble."

(Basketball Skill Dictionary: the Official Terminology for Basketball Skills)

One of the reasons we conducted this study, was to compare what a player like Kyrie Irving uses in the game, to what we most often train for in the game.

For this reason, we are calling attention to the Punch Drag. Now, a Punch Drag is the act of punching the ball down during a Drag Stop, and is a skill we certainly train for in our program.

But to our surprise, Kyrie Irving, who is often considered the most skilled player on the planet, didn't use the Punch Drag all that much. Consider the numbers below, as you watch the video:

Total Drag Stops: 38

Punch Drag: 12

Punch Drags per game: 1.2

In a span of 10 games, Kyrie Irving used a total of 176 unique skills. In my opinion, this means that all 176 of those skills have value. But what should our approach be when we discover that a skill we most often train for, might actually be low on the list of usage?

Well, for me, I'm proud to say that this finding even further backs up our Checklist Training System. You see, in a span of 10 games Kyrie stopped just around 25 times per game and he used 19 different kinds. That means a player like Kyrie can't overly rely on any kind of stop footwork. That's one of the reasons we have had so much success with our Checklist Training System and our Footwork Checklist.

We don't pick and choose our favorite footworks, but instead make sure all players experience the variety needed to play the game of basketball with freedom. And as it relates to the Drag Stop, we should make sure that players are working on all the varieties of Drag Stops possible.

Instead of singling out our favorite "Punch Drag" footwork, we should recognize that 14.8% of Kyrie's stops utilized some kind of Drag stop. It's the variety that seems to matter the most!

This suggests that players should work on normal Drag stops, Inverted Drags, Under Drags, Cross Drags, Drag Pickups, and of course, Punch Drags, and should check them off one by one so that they can better respond in the flow of the game.

For more on these footworks, you might want to take a look at our Footwork Checklist #1, where we work on these varieties in detail.

With all that said, however, if we do in fact come face to face with a set of footwork that has usage which dominates the rest, it is our responsibility to make sure we prioritize that footwork in our training.

But we will go over that in Episode 4!

BECOME AN IPT ELITE SKILL MEMBER NOW

DRIBBLE-STEPS

Dribble-Step: "The act of dribbling the ball in rhythm with the inside foot."

(Basketball Skill Dictionary: the Official Terminology for Basketball Skills)

One of the most underrated and under appreciated, and important skills in basketball is the Dribble-Step.

But as you watch, consider these numbers.

Dribble-Steps: 1893

Stutter Dribbles: 38

Dribble-Step Accuracy Rate: 98%

When diving in and performing deeper studies on basketball skills, it becomes more and more clear that a Dribble-Step is the most natural timing and combination of both dribble and step.

Within the Dribble-Step, a player will find natural rhythm within the game of basketball, move more athletically and coordinated, and will be able to access consistent reads and reactions.

Incredibly, in a span of 10 games, Kyrie Irving performed 1,893 Dribble-Steps, but only 38 Stutter Dribbles! Why does this matter? Because when a dribble is performed in rhythm with the inside foot, the ball handler is in the best position to make reads like stopping, shooting, changing directions, etc.

Quite simply, reads, reactions, and overall creativity is most accessible during the Dribble-Step. So the fact that Kyrie has a 98% Dribble-Step accuracy rate explains just how gifted of a ball handler he is. And that’s not to mention that many of the Stutter Dribbles that he did perform, like Punch Drags, were done on purpose! But we will save that for Episode 3.

MOTION STEPS

Motion Step: "The step or steps that are taken between dribbles."

(Basketball Skill Dictionary: the Official Terminology for Basketball Skills)

Before we dive in, I don't expect you to understand exactly the significance of these stats or terms quite yet. After all, that's what the video is for.

But as you watch, consider these numbers.

Motion Steps: 1,199

Consecutive Motion Steps: 542

Dribble-Step Accuracy Rate: 98%

Now, whenever this topic is discussed, it's important to understand that there is no rule in any rulebook that prohibits the number of steps that a player can take between their dribbles. As long as the player doesn't carry the ball, the amount of steps they take between their dribbles is irrelevant.

And with that knowledge in mind, it is absolutely crucial that players learn how to implement consecutive Motion Steps into their game. The ability to take multiple steps between dribbles gives players a different level of fluidity, as they are able to truly flow with the game and keep the ball in their hands longer during decision making moments. 

We work on this skill in our All-Around checklist for that very reason. And now, after this study, the importance of motion steps has risen even further. After all, Kyrie Irving performs consecutive Motion Steps more than 54 times per game!

That's wild to consider! But even more amazing is his incredible Dribble-Step Accuracy Rate of 98%!!! But we will go over that on Episode 2.

Now, whenever this topic is discussed, it's important to understand that there is no rule in any rulebook that prohibits the number of steps that a player can take between their dribbles. As long as the player doesn't carry the ball, the amount of steps they take between their dribbles is irrelevant.

And with that knowledge in mind, it is absolutely crucial that players learn how to implement consecutive Motion Steps into their game. The ability to take multiple steps between dribbles gives players a different level of fluidity, as they are able to truly flow with the game and keep the ball in their hands longer during decision making moments. 

We work on this skill in our All-Around checklist for that very reason. And now, after this study, the importance of motion steps has risen even further. After all, Kyrie Irving performs consecutive Motion Steps more than 54 times per game!

That's wild to consider! But even more amazing is his incredible Dribble-Step Accuracy Rate of 98%!!! But we will go over that on Episode 2.