The Brooklyn Nets have been a mess for the past few years. Even though they signed Kyrie Irving at point guard, not many were convinced he would be an effective player as he was just coming off his second knee surgery in two seasons. In fact, it seemed like a clear example of bad decision-making by the team that flew up from New Jersey to acquire him only to turn around and trade him away later on.
The “where is kyrie irving from” is a question that has been asked since the Brooklyn Nets traded for Kyrie Irving. The answer? He’s from Cleveland.
On Oct. 27, the Miami Heat pulled away from the Brooklyn Nets, defeating them 106–93. The Nets are 1–2 midway through their six-game homestand this season. Kevin Durant’s 25 points and 11 rebounds in 37 minutes went to nothing as the club struggles due to Kyrie Irving’s absence and James Harden’s early-season funk.
The Heat outscored the Nets 57–42 after halftime, shooting 38.8 percent overall and 32.6 percent from outside the arc. The Nets are just drowning, especially considering their ineptness on the offensive boards (where they were outscored 17–4 and outscored 31–4 in second-chance chances). Instead of supporting a punchless offensive approach, Irving becomes a punch line, and Durant is forced to bear the brunt of the blame.
Kyrie Irving is causing a stir on late-night talk programs.
Kyrie Irving will not be playing for the Brooklyn Nets this season, in case you missed it. He’ll be at home until he meets New York City’s vaccine requirement for public gymnasiums, or until the requirement is abolished.
But it doesn’t mean he’s forgotten about. Before the team’s home opener, anti-vaccine activists staged a demonstration outside Barclays Center. The late-night talk show circuit is also giving him the full treatment. In a video published on Oct. 27, The Late Show with Stephen Colbert poked fun at Irving.
The video highlighted a new “unvaccinated mode” in the famous NBA 2K22 video game. The made-up mode was “rated ‘M’ because maybe you should have simply been vaccinated,” and it was biting.
Meanwhile, as Irving is told to stay away from the Nets, his celebrity pal is forced to deal with the media attention on his own. As the team struggles, Kevin Durant tackles a lot of Kyrie-related inquiries.
Kevin Durant, after a long time, finally concedes the obvious.
Kevin Durant jokes when questioned about the difference between the team’s offense last season and this season, “Yeah, we do miss Kyrie.”
“It’s just a question of us knocking them down,” he says, adding, “I believe it’ll come.” pic.twitter.com/UhLFbBSlCG
— @SNYNets (@NetsVideos) October 28, 2021
Kevin Durant of the Brooklyn Nets gave the press what he felt it wanted after the team’s defeat to Miami.
“We do miss Kyrie,” Durant said.
Durant said after Brooklyn’s home opening defeat to the Charlotte Hornets that the team still had enough weapons to win the title without Irving. According to a tweet from Sports New York, the NBA MVP for the 2013–14 season still thinks that:
“All we have to do now is knock them down; I believe it will happen.”
Durant had been playing like the superstar he is, averaging 29.8 points, 10.0 rebounds, and 5.0 assists a game in 35.0 minutes. He’s hitting 54.8 percent of his shots overall, but 36.0 percent from distance (9-of-25).
Harden, on the other hand, is in a bad mood. The three-time scoring champion averages 16.6 points a game on 35.9% shooting, including a dismal 33.3 percent (13-of-39) 3-point shooting percentage.
Meanwhile, the Nets established an NBA record for offensive efficiency last season. Due to injuries, they only had half seasons from Harden, Durant, and Kyrie Irving, scoring 117.3 points per 100 possessions.
Only the New Orleans Pelicans and Detroit Pistons, who are a combined 1–7, have a higher offensive rating than Brooklyn’s 100.6. It might be a lot worse, but only by a hair.
Kyrie Irving might help the Nets with a number of their problems.
Without All-Star point guard Kyrie Irving, Kevin Durant (7) and the Brooklyn Nets are 2-3. | Getty Images/Al Bello
With a 33.9 percent 3-point shooting percentage, the Nets are in the center of the NBA pack. They might benefit from Kyrie Irving’s 40.2 percent deep shooting percentage from previous season. Kevin Durant isn’t capable of doing everything on his own.
Their long-range shooting woes extend beyond Harden. Last year, Joe Harris led the NBA in 3-point shooting with 47.5 percent; this year, he’s at 37.5 percent. Blake Griffin has a 1-of-11 shooting percentage, Paul Millsap has a 3-of-10 mark, and Jevon Carter has a 2-of-11 mark. Brooklyn might be farther in the pecking order if it weren’t for Patty Mills’ 51.6 percent showing from the range.
But it’s not only about blocking shots. Brooklyn ranks 27th in the NBA in terms of second-chance points allowed per game (15.8 per game). The Nets are also 28th in the league in terms of converting such chances, averaging just 8.2 points per game. It’s difficult to enter a game with a deficit of more than seven points, but that’s exactly what Brooklyn is doing with their rebounding troubles.
However, depending on Irving has its drawbacks. By contrast, he makes the simply mercurial seem positively steady. His performance on the court is never a problem. His manner away from it, on the other hand, is a never-ending slew of diversions.
In Brooklyn, Kevin Durant believed he was part of a superteam. Instead, he has Harden in the midst of his least productive period in a decade, and he lacks Kyrie Irving entirely. Do they have what it takes to win a title? The Nets aren’t even pretending to be good enough to qualify for the play-in round.
Basketball Reference and NBA.com provided the statistics.
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