Brooklyn Nets: Why Kyrie Irving will prove doubters wrong

Brooklyn Nets Kyrie Irving (Photo by Matteo Marchi/Getty Images)
Brooklyn Nets Kyrie Irving (Photo by Matteo Marchi/Getty Images) /
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Brooklyn Nets
Brooklyn Nets Kyrie Irving (Photo by Maddie Meyer/Getty Images) /

Why history won’t repeat itself

Over the course of the playoffs, when the rumors of Kyrie Irving wanting to play for the Brooklyn Nets increased, there was a recurring question. Why would Kyrie want to go to Brooklyn, which is a lesser version of the Boston Celtics?

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You kept hearing the comparisons of the youth of the team and Kyrie’s question mark as an established leader. This isn’t the same situation and I’m willing to bet this isn’t the same Kyrie Irving.

For starters, there is no better teacher than time and experience. So as well-intentioned as LeBron James was and as much as Kyrie Irving may have learned from him, the chance to be a leader has probably thought Kyrie more than LeBron could have hoped to.

Even more so, the combination of the two will prove invaluable so hopefully he’s more the wiser for it. Kyrie will have a better idea of what to expect this go around. This will be less of a pop quiz for him and more of a final exam.

Secondly, he isn’t going to fill that leadership role alone. In Boston, nine players played in the NBA five or fewer years. Within that nine, seven played for three years of less. That team was entirely too young and outside of Al Horford, who was a real veteran presence in that locker room?

In Brooklyn, there is a team responsibility towards leadership. That’s what we saw last year. There was’t just one leader. You could point to many from Jared Dudley and Ed Davis, to D’Angelo Russell or Spencer Dinwiddie.

Although most of those names are gone, the Nets have plenty of veterans to help Kyrie lead. DeAndre Jordan, Wilson Chandler, Garrett Temple and Kevin Durant once he returns are all well-established veterans in the league.

Also, I’m sure the general consensus is that Brad Stevens is a better coach than Kenny Atkinson, but Kenny has more NBA experience. He played for more than a decade in Europe. He’s been an assistant coach. He worked his way up to being a head coach.

Kenny, much like his players, has the “hard work to get where he is” back story. On top of that, he can relate to what the players have to go through season to season in the league. Kenny can reach his players on deeper levels than Stevens can probably reach his.

Third, Brooklyn’s youth isn’t Boston’s youth. For the most part, the youth of the Celtics are lottery picks. Being a top-14 pick, let alone someone drafted within the top five to 10, has to come with some kind of arrogance.

And then add on the fact that they were a game shy of the Finals without their best player. It’s only human that young guys would succumb to their ego here. Brooklyn doesn’t have this problem. Their young core can’t brag about being highly sought-after lottery picks.

Some of them were rejects and forgotten men. They can only just now even speak on the experience of having a winning season and making the playoffs. All that came off hard work and camaraderie.

And a first-round exit in a gentlemen’s sweep isn’t exactly something to write home about either. This is a much more humble, tight-knit group than the on Kyrie had to deal with in Boston. They are much more willing to learn.

We’ve seen them sacrifice for each other and give up shots or see their role reduced. Their response was to have the same enthusiasm for the next man’s success as they had for their own. Kyrie Irving can work with this. This is a team, it’s a family.