The Brooklyn Nets will now have to finish off the remainder of the season without Kyrie Irving, while analyzing their talent for the future
In this 2019-20 season, Kyrie Irving has missed 33 out of 56 games mostly due to a shoulder injury. Back in January, Irving stated that he took a cortisone shot on Christmas Eve with the hopes of avoiding surgery and missing as little time off the court as possible. However, after meeting with a specialist, Irving will undergo shoulder surgery and will be out for the season, hoping to return for the beginning of next season.
After the surgery, a more specific timeline to recovery can be solidified. Kyrie Irving is undeniably an essential asset to the team, but the Nets have been managing without him and must now strategize the rest of the season as effectively as possible.
26-year-old Kyrie Irving is undoubtedly one of the best point guards in the NBA when healthy, which is proven by his fast-paced plays, quick decision making and ball handling skills. He has the NBA championship title and Olympic gold medal to prove it. When the Nets are playing without Kyrie, their offensive rating decreases 7.5 points per 100 possessions, as well as their effective field-goal percentage dropping by 5.
This is within the top seven biggest drop-offs in the league, so Irving is clearly vital to the Net’s success. When he was able to play this season, he averaged 27.4 points per game shooting with 59.5 percent accuracy and an average of 6.4 assists per game.
This news of Kyrie’s surgery now presents the team with several options on how to approach the remainder of this season. While they can of course focus on finishing the season as strongly as possible, it also presents an opportunity for growth with the understanding that this will not be their best season and they can use it to develop players. In the game against Orlando on Monday, only two players did not get played, while everyone else got at least 15 minutes.
This remainder of the season allows for players who would usually get little playing time to have significant time on the court. During the Saturday night Hornets game, every player on the roster was put in the game.
Timothe Luwawu-Cabarrot was in for 23 minutes, while normally playing an average of 15.4, showing the way the Nets are now using this time to develop newer players. It will be interesting to see how the team utilizes the rest of this season for growth, as well as continuing to maintain their playoff placement.
Irving’s absence also allows for the Nets to carefully examine who they will involve in trade talks this off-season. Reportedly, Spencer Dinwiddie, Caris LeVert and Jarrett Allen will all be available for trade and it is likely the Nets will trade at least one.
Next season, it is projected for both Kevin Durant and Kyrie Irving to be back and healthy again, so they will be the key pieces of the team and their help must be chosen precisely.
Despite not knowing the chemistry with Durant, there have been several games to see this chemistry with Kyrie. Certain players, such as Caris Levert, have had blatantly poor cohesion with the 26-year-old, and could possibly be traded. Therefore, the rest of this season will be an ample opportunity to analyze his worth to the team and decide which players should be kept and who may be worth trading.
Overall, not having Kyrie undoubtedly disadvantages the Brooklyn Nets, but they are in a relatively safe position regarding playoffs and have this opportunity to develop players and grow as a team.