Former Miami Heat champion dubs Kyrie Irving the NBA's 'best ball handler'

Jason Williams made a significant impact as a member of the 2006 Miami Heat championship squad. During his prime in the NBA, he showcased his exceptional ball-handling abilities, earning him the reputation of being a magician on the court. But, he believes someone else takes the title of "best ball handler ever" in the NBA.
Miami Heat v Los Angeles Lakers
Miami Heat v Los Angeles Lakers / Stephen Dunn/GettyImages

Former Miami Heat point guard Jason Williams not only dazzled with his incredible passing skills but also displayed remarkable finesse in handling the ball. See his highlight reel below.

On a recent episode of “The OGs” podcast, Jason Williams told hosts Udonis Haslem and Mike Miller that he believes Dallas Mavericks point guard, Kyrie Irving takes the title as the best ball handler in the NBA, instead of him. Also, former Miami center Shaquille O'Neal was partly responsible for orchestrating his trade to Miami in 2005.

During a recent conversation on the OGs Presented by Playmaker HQ, Haslem and Miller welcomed their former teammate where he revealed some untold Miami Heat stories, why he was kicked out of UF, and debated about some All-Star snubs. 

Williams believes Kyrie Irving is the best ball handler in NBA history

Despite Williams showcasing one of the most impressive ball-handling skills we have witnessed, he acknowledged that he doesn't hold the title of the best ball-handler in the NBA. In the conversation with Haslem and Miller, J-Will bestowed this honor upon Dallas Mavericks superstar, Kyrie Irving. Irving's handles have enabled him to lead the NBA in isolation scoring (ISO) last season at 1.25 Points Per Possession (PPP).

"He's the top as it gets for me. He's the best ball-handler ever just because I think that not only can he handle the thing, but he can get through cracks and crevices like no other and spin and then puts him above everybody, and boy, he could finish at the rim with either hand. I don't think we'll ever see that again, not in our lifetime."

Jason Williams

Shaquille O'Neal was partly responsible for J-Will coming to the Heat

Williams was extremely determined to be transferred from the Memphis Grizzlies to the Miami Heat in 2005. Thanks in part to former center Shaquille O'Neal, it happened for J-Will. Subsequently, during that summer, Williams was traded to the Heat as part of the most extensive single trade ever executed in NBA history.

This trade involved 13 players and five teams in total: the Memphis Grizzlies, New Orleans Hornets, Boston Celtics, Utah Jazz, and Miami. Alongside Williams, the Heat also acquired Antoine Walker, James Posey, and Andre Emmett through this transaction.

Things proved to be beneficial for both Williams and the Heat as Miami went on to secure an NBA championship in 2006 against the Dallas Mavericks on their home court. This victory marked the first-ever championship in Heat franchise history, and it remained the sole championship that J-Will would achieve throughout his career.

Williams provided a detailed and intriguing response when he was initially approached by former Heat center Shaquille O’Neal regarding a potential trade to Miami.

Mike Miller: “So big Shaq says he orchestrated the trade that got you here in ‘06”

Jason Williams: “Think he did”

Udonis Haslem: “Talk about at that time that was the biggest trade in the league. Thirteen players. I remember when you came to the Heat, that was exciting.”

Williams continues: “He came to the crib and he asked me do I want to play with Miami…What do you got to do? You could tell Pat Riley that he can cut my left nut off if he gets that deal done. Right? You know what I'm saying? So yeah, he got Pat Riley on the phone. We chatted a little bit and the next thing you know the next day it happened.”

“We win a championship in Dallas that year,” Williams said. “Pat Riley’s wife came up to me. ‘Congratulations. Don’t think we ain’t forgot about that left nut.’ Go head and chop it off right now. We got this thing.”

Following his departure from the Heat in 2008, Williams took a brief retirement hiatus. Subsequently, he embarked on stints with the Orlando Magic and the Memphis Grizzlies, ultimately concluding his professional basketball journey in 2011. Throughout his career, Williams maintained impressive statistics, averaging 10.5 points and 5.9 assists per game.