Brooklyn Nets: Kyrie, D-Lo pairing is a bad idea for Brooklyn

Brooklyn Nets Kyrie Irving (Photo by Jim McIsaac/Getty Images)
Brooklyn Nets Kyrie Irving (Photo by Jim McIsaac/Getty Images) /
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Brooklyn Nets
Brooklyn Nets D’Angelo Russell Kyrie Irving (Photo by Adam Glanzman/Getty Images) /

Potential on-court issues with Kyrie, D-Lo merger

If Kyrie and D-Lo start, which they most certainly will, this would move LeVert to the small forward position. That would force Atkinson to bench Joe Harris, who this season was the NBA’s top 3-point shooter.

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Atkinson cannot afford to start Harris at power forward. He cannot defend the perimeter well enough and he’s too small there.

Joe Harris is in a contract year next season. Those are seasons in which NBA players play their absolute hardest to boost their market value before they become free agents.

Is relegating him to the bench a wise decision? I don’t think so.

Harris has improved a lot. He is the reigning NBA 3-point champ and deserves to start at small forward. He’s earned that.

Furthermore, if Harris is moved to the bench, that could push Spencer Dinwiddie back in the rotation from sixth man to seventh. Is it smart to fix what isn’t broken with Dinwiddie as the first spark off the bench?

Dinwiddie could be starting on other teams. He’s earned the right to be first off the bench in Brooklyn.

Caris LeVert is in a contract year as well. Bringing in a Kyrie and D-Lo tandem who takes more than 17 shots apiece per would take opportunities away from the blossoming LeVert. Some might argue it would help LeVert, but I disagree with that assertion.

LeVert played great in isolation situations in the playoffs against elite defenders. He can create his own shots. That much is apparent. This is why he should be allowed to showcase his entire repertoire for an entire season. Brooklyn drafted him and he’s earned that.

Brooklyn has never seen LeVert and D-Lo play together for an entire season because of injuries. They should get that authentic opportunity without Kyrie meddling with the chemistry.

Kyrie’s ball=dominant style would take shots away from LeVert. D-Lo taking his average of 18 shots a game would take shots away from LeVert as well.

I understand D-Lo and Kyrie are capable playmakers but they are primarily scoring guards despite their impressive assist numbers.

So does benching Harris, moving Dinwiddie back in the rotation and potentially stunting LeVert’s development — to experiment with D-Lo and Kyrie  — make much sense for the long-term big picture in Brooklyn?

No, because Brooklyn still wouldn’t be as good as Philly, Milwaukee, Boston or maybe Toronto if they keep Leonard. The Knicks are bound to be better next year as well.

Harris won’t be happy coming off the bench, LeVert won’t be happy watching D-Lo and Kyrie put up 34 shots a game with him on the floor with them; Dinwiddie won’t want to be moved back in the rotation.

If that’s not messing up chemistry, I don’t know what is.

We don’t even know how Kyrie and D-Lo will mesh together on the court. Unless you are assuming that Kyrie and D-Lo are going to drastically alter their playstyle, this pairing is a bad idea.

It’s also important to mention that Kyrie averages 2.6 turnovers per game for his career and D-Lo averaged 3.1 last season.

Is adding team turnovers to the offense a wise move considering the Nets were only 18th in the league in opponents points per game?

To bolster that point, how exactly is Kyrie going to improve the Nets’ below-average defense to a level where they can be competitive at the top of the East?

How could Kyrie sustain 100 percent effort on both sides of the ball and stay healthy for an entire season and playoffs for four years?

The Nets’ trainers are amazing, but they cant keep Kyrie healthy; no one can.

The Nets ranked 24th in the NBA in team field goal efficiency last season. How many spots do they climb in that category by adding Kyrie to the team? Perhaps three to five spots at best. Hardly anything impressive or radically team-changing.

Will the Nets become a better rebounding team by adding Kyrie? Absolutely not. The Nets were obliterated on the glass by Philly in the playoffs. Besides Jarrett Allen, they don’t have another rebounder under contract for next season.

It looks like Brooklyn should spend to improve the rebounding department  quite dramatically. That should be their top priority actually. Child fans know you can’t win if you don’t rebound. I’m hoping that Nets management understand this concept too.

It’s obvious the Nets need to improve their rebounding but that won’t be so easy if they spend the majority of their cap space on Kyrie and D-Lo.

One team stat that might improve significantly is the Nets total team assists per game. Last season they ranked 21st in that category. Adding Kyrie might bring them into the top 15, but it’s doubtful he brings them into the top 10 in that category.

The other stat that might improve is the Nets ranking of 13th in total offense in the NBA last season. Adding Kyrie may move the needle on that stat, but not by much, and this improvement certainly would not address other more important team needs.

The other thing to consider is basic chemistry and player tendencies. Kyrie and D-Lo are both streaky players. They do the most damage when they’re hot. It’s not realistic to expect two volume shooters to be hot at the same time.

Kyrie dominates the ball and D-Lo’s favorite shot is a pull-up 3 off-the-dribble or from the elbows. That’s a lot of dribbling for a team that needs to vastly improve their ball movement and get everyone involved in a motion offense.

How will that effect Brooklyn’s young players’ development? Negatively, most likely.

So the question remains, why does it make sense to sign an injury-prone star like Irving to a Brooklyn team on a max contract, when all the team stats and analytics clearly show the Nets don’t need him and can barely afford him?

Kyrie also comes with some potential headaches.

Atkinson has never coached a perceived mega-star before. How will Atkinson get along with a player like Irving? How coachable will he be under Atkinson? Irving’s been playing in the NBA for more years than Atkinson has been a head coach. Will Irving respect Atkinson?

If a game comes down to a final shot who does Atkinson draw up a play for? Kyrie or D-Lo?

More importantly, who is even the leader of this team? A largely unproven D-Lo on a new max deal or the imported Kyrie with experience on a max deal? These are real issues that are unavoidable.

The DNPs (did not play) will be inevitable if Brooklyn signs Kyrie. He only played in 67 games last season and just 60 games the year before. He played in 72 games in 2016-17, and 53 games in 2015-16.

D-Lo has missed significant time in his short career as well. He only played in 48 games in 2017-18 and 63 games in 2016-17. D-Lo’s risk of injury is considerably less than Irving’s, but it’s still there.

If either of them got hurt, the Nets would be terrible on the court. If they both got hurt, they would be one of the worst teams in the league.

To ignore the injury potential is folly.