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The Nets’ biggest problem is Kyrie Irving

Kyrie-Irving

When the Brooklyn Nets assembled the monster superteam of James Harden, Kevin Durant, and Kyrie Irving in January 2021, many basketball analysts and fans assumed that they’d at least win a minimum of one championship. However, that hasn’t been the case, and it seems like this trio could be dismantled soon, as Harden is reportedly involved in trade talks.

Kyrie Irving, agent of chaos

Blame it on injuries, COVID-19 rules and protocols, or whatever, but it’s as important to hold Kyrie Irving the most accountable for the Nets’ downfall among the three superstars. 

Irving, who is averaging 23.2 points, 4.8 rebounds, and 5.3 assists, has only played 12 out of 54 games this season. The one-time champion is basically a part-time player due to his refusal to comply with New York’s vaccine mandate. And that’s not the only problem he has contributed to in the past two seasons.

Remember, Irving also sprained his ankle in the Playoffs last season, which caused him to miss the whole semi-finals after Game 3. Yes, it’s an unavoidable injury but it’s further proof that his availability can’t be depended on which is just unfortunate for the Nets who need a combo-guard alongside Durant. Aside from all the time Irving has missed on the court, he has also been a menace outside the court. 

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Back in December 2021, Irving missed multiple games due to “personal reasons”. He didn't just miss them - Kyrie went AWOL. He was often spotted at parties that caused controversy around the league. Not only did this send the wrong message to his team but it also put head coach Steve Nash in a tough spot. Nash constantly defends his All-Star guard, finding ways to avoid causing drama within the team. Are we sure this doesn’t send out the wrong impression to everyone in the organization? 

Think about it this way: If you’re under a veteran minimum contract with the Nets and have to work extra hard just to make up for Irving’s absence, won’t it rub you the wrong way? The reason why players sign up for the veteran minimum in the first place is that they only expect to contribute in a certain area. Irving’s on and off court issues have constantly demanded more out of his teammates. 

Maybe that’s exactly the reason why veteran Paul Milsap wants out of the team. Or why Harden reportedly no longer wants to be part of the Nets — because none of these players chose to be in the situation they find themselves in. 

No way out

The Nets are now 29-24 and have lost nine straight games. No NBA champion in league history has ever had a losing streak like this. Durant, who will be coming off a serious MCL sprain, will have to put this team on his back when he suits up again. With all the events that have transpired in the past two seasons in Nets land, it’s fair to say that this experiment has failed miserably.

And Irving’s durability, off court shenanigans, and beliefs have a lot to do with the Nets’ failures. It’s time to hold him more accountable.

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