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Kyrie Irving, Nets

NBA

Don’t blame Kyrie Irving for Nets’ slow start

When Kyrie Irving made his exodus out of Cleveland just over two years ago, many championed the idea as a young player looking to spread his wings.

Just over two years later, it’s looking like Irving probably should have never even left.

Irving, now a Brooklyn Net, has never had his talent questioned or his ability to score in bunches. His acrobatic layups are show stoppers, and he constantly flirts with the 50/40/90 membership club.

But as he found out in Boston, being the best player requires many hats. Leadership on and off the floor is one of them, and Irving struggled with that while trying to manage a talented team’s expectations.

Irving headed to the Nets this offseason for a new start. So far, he’s giving the Nets what they asked for: superstar production. He’s second in the league in points per game, scoring 30.5 per contest. Irving is doing his due diligence as we expected.

But according to a recent ESPN article by Jackie MacMullan, more of the same Irving is present with the Nets.

Kyrie balked at aspects of the Nets’ training regimen.

He’s already displaying moodiness and mood swings.

He even shuts down and won’t communicate to teammates or coaching staff at times.

Sound familiar? Because that just comes with the package with Kyrie.

However, let’s not slam Irving for the Nets’ slow start just yet. Irving, of course, is doing his part, and this Nets team is still trying to figure out how to play with their new superstar signee.

Let’s also not forget the elephant in the room: Kevin Durant isn’t playing yet. Durant suffered an Achilles injury in the NBA Finals as a member of the Golden State Warriors. This season will be used as rehab for the superstar forward. While Irving is the easy target to look at, there are too many other factors that say otherwise.

The defense for the Nets has been paltry, to say the least. In each game this season, the Nets have given up at least 109 points to the opposing teams. In their four losses, they have given up 127, 134, 118 and 113 points, respectively, to their opponents. Yes, scoring points in bunches is the new NBA. But allowing 134 points is not the ideal way to make your mark as a team looking to contend for NBA titles.

Irving being a walking mood is just who he is, but the Nets have a plethora of issues they can fix. In fairness to Irving, we have to let time run its course to see if his personality is a problem in the locker room. Until then, the Nets must correct their defensive concerns if they want to truly improve as a team, and they’ll have to build chemistry on the offensive end after a good amount of turnover.