The Brooklyn Nets escaped from a wild offseason as a top Finals contender in the Eastern Conference this season. There are a lot of things that need to go right in order for the Nets to make good on those championship expectations, though, and it starts with keeping Kyrie Irving on the court more than they were able to last season.
Irving sounds like he wants to play in every possible game for the Nets
The Nets struggled for many reasons last season, but one was because Irving only ended up playing in 29 games during the regular season. Irving refused to get the COVID-19 vaccine, which made him unable to play in the Nets' home games for much of the season. Irving eventually became a part-time player midway through the season, playing in the Nets' away games, but the damage was done by then.
The vaccination rule was eventually lifted, and Irving won't have to worry about that, meaning that as long as he can stay healthy and avoid any off-court drama, he should be able to play in every possible game this season. Irving, for his part, sounds like he intends on playing every game this season and revealed his mindset ahead of the upcoming campaign.
The Nets would benefit greatly from keeping Irving on the court
Even when Irving was on the court last season, the Nets didn't have the team needed to make a deep playoff run. That shouldn't be the case this season, but for them to actually make it to the Finals, they will need Irving to be on the court alongside Kevin Durant as much as possible. Otherwise, their hopes and dreams for a successful season after their chaotic offseason will go down the drain very quickly.
The Nets have not been able to count on Irving since he joined the Nets, as he's only played in 103 total games over his three seasons in Brooklyn. Whether it be injuries, the COVID vaccine issue, or him simply not wanting to play, Irving has been a bit of a letdown for the Nets. He's extremely talented when he plays, yes, but he has to be on the court to do any good for Brooklyn.
Irving's recent comments here, while a bit cryptic, are encouraging because he appears to have the right mentality entering the season. Whether that will last throughout the Nets' entire campaign remains to be seen, but if they want to win a title, they are going to need Irving, and they had better hope they can keep him in a good mood throughout the year or else things could get ugly in Brooklyn once again.