Brooklyn Nets guard Kyrie Irving brings a lot of baggage with him as he leaves the Boston Celtics for the borough. But he can quiet the doubters.
Let’s open this up by officially welcoming Kyrie Irving to the Brooklyn Nets. On Sunday morning, he signed with Brooklyn. So any worries that he may back out or change his mind can be pushed aside. Kyrie Irving is a Brooklyn Net.
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With that being said, on the way to this momentous day, there were a lot of doubters who whispered worries into the winds. Can Kyrie Irving lead a team while Kevin Durant sits out? Will his attitude sour during tough stretches? Will his body hold up?
Truth be told, I’ve been one of Kyrie’s biggest critics over the years. Here’s why I think he can prove me and others wrong.
Kyrie Irving is a world-class talent and a top-three point guard in the NBA. Regardless of that, over the years he has struggled with injuries. In an earlier article, I wrote:
"Through his eight years in the league, Kyrie was only able to reach 70 or more games three times. He even was bit by the injury bug in college. Health has always been a concern for the star guard."
He’s missed about 23 percent of scheduled regular-season games in his career. It’s hard to change things like this and NBA players, especially small guards, don’t exactly get more durable as they age. But there is the possibility of Kyrie Irving finding the fountain of youth over here.
There used to be another No. 11 who, for about a two- to three-year stretch, could not stay on the court. Brook Lopez used to wear the injury-prone title. Although to start his career he was relatively healthy, foot issues kept him out of many games.
From ages 23 through 26, the young big would have two seasons in that stretch where he appeared in a combined 22 games. After getting surgery on his foot and some minute restrictions early on, Brook was back to playing 70-plus games a year.
The same doctor who performed that surgery is the same one the Nets employ now. The same one who operated on Kevin Durant. With the medical staff and training facilities that the Brooklyn Nets have, hopefully we’re looking at Kyrie taking a dip into the fountain of youth.
We’re also looking at the era of load management. Gregg Popovich and the San Antonio Spurs are probably the pioneers of this in the modern era.
We look over the course of the years, despite how the old guard and legends feel, more players have taken games off to rest their bodies for the playoffs and just for their general health.
With Kyrie having a quality backup in Spencer Dinwiddie, Kenny Atkinson can rest Kyrie in games here and there throughout the season without much worry that the team will fall off a cliff.
Spencer can hold down the fort and the depth of the Brooklyn Nets allows the team to thrive without putting a huge load on any one players shoulders.