The Brooklyn Nets are fighting for a playoff berth in the Eastern Conference, but can they do that and deal with the inner-turmoil on their team? Thanks to Kyrie Irving, things may get worse before they get better.
If we were to go off speculation and hearsay, then Irving can be a cancer to any locker room. On the court, he’s a tremendous talent, but his mouth can get him into loads of trouble. Just two weeks ago, Irving made a statement that while the Nets have talent, they’re missing a few pieces.
Was it the truth? Yes and no.
For starters, the team is not at full health. There is no Kevin Durant. He’s out the entire 2019-20 season. making that remark miss the mark. Another reason his remarks were off base is due to Irving missing 27 games already this season. If someone is supposed to be the missing link, it’s the person making $31M per season to fix that. That’s the reason he came to the Nets, right? He wanted to be that link to a championship.
While he has been nursing injury after injury, those same players he threw under the bus for not being talented enough are out there giving 100 percent while he’s on the bench with Durant. Kyrie Irving has a problem.
But why are we shocked? He’s done this before. This is the same guy who couldn’t lead his team in Cleveland before LeBron James arrived. In fact, there were talks of him being traded due to non-leadership and a terrible attitude. Then LeBron came back, along with Kevin Love, and all was well. One ring in three tries and then Irving wanted out. He wanted to be his own man and star on his own team.
But wasn’t he that in Cleveland? Didn’t the Cavaliers give him that chance and he just bolted on them? He was traded to the Boston Celtics and it became more of the same. While the Celtics had a great year, Kyrie Irving went down with yet another injury and the team actually improved. Then came the whispers that he wasn’t happy there. There were issues last season but the Celtics held on and let Irving walk in free agency.
Now, a member of the Nets, Irving appears to not learned anything from his previous two stops. He wants to be the man, but doesn’t quite know what it takes to do that. So, what happens next season when Durant finally takes the court?
The Nets will win games, but with Durant’s resume, this will become his team. Is that something Irving can handle? Will this be another situation like in Cleveland and Boston? Can he be a second-fiddle and be comfortable with that?
In terms of talent, the Nets are young and Kyrie Irving knew this coming in. He knew that Durant would not take the court… so what’s his problem? He began the season hot by averaging 27 points in the first few games but the Nets were losing. While sidelined, the Nets did manage a good run that had his replacement Spencer Dinwiddie being mentioned as an All-Star.
But as soon as that began to get some steam with other players and the media taking notice, Irving came back. Another case of wounded pride there? Maybe he was ready or it could have possibly been the trade rumors that were starting to circulate. With Dinwiddie playing at that level and cheaper in terms of contract, maybe Sean Marks was feeling the pressure and was willing to let go as the Cavs and Celtics did.
The only thing that can cure what Irving is going through is wining. If he continues to light the scoreboards and stat sheets up but the Nets are still losing, what will come of that? Will it still be ok to throw teammates under the bus because he’s hoisting 29-30 shots per night? At what point is enough, enough?
To be a superstar in the NBA, one must be willing to take the good with the bad and accept the accolades as well as the blame. Kyrie Irving has not learned that yet. It’s time for Irving to rally the team. He has to put the Nets on his back, the same way D’Angelo Russell did last season.
If he can’t, then what was the point of all this?