Brooklyn Nets: Evaluating Kyrie Irving’s first season in Brooklyn

Kyrie Irving Brooklyn Nets (Photo by Mike Stobe/Getty Images)
Kyrie Irving Brooklyn Nets (Photo by Mike Stobe/Getty Images) /

Brooklyn Nets guard Kyrie Irving announced he won’t be playing in Orlando when the season resumes. Let’s take a look at how his season went.

Kyrie Irving finally became an unrestricted free agent for the first time in his career last season, and he took full advantage of that, as he signed with his favorite team growing up, which is none other than the Brooklyn Nets.

Irving, a native of West Orange, New Jersey, grew up a fan of the team back when they were playing their home games at Continental Airlines Arena as the New Jersey Nets.

Although the All-Star point guard only played 20 games in his first season donning the black-and-white, he made his superstar presence felt quickly, as he averaged a career-high 27.4 points per game on a very respectable 47.8 field-goal percentage.

In his very first game as a Net at Barclays Center, Irving wasted no time showcasing his abilities as a scorer, as he dropped a whopping 50 points in front of his new fanbase.

In those 50 points, what was evident was that Kyrie had an extremely quick dribble and crossover that allowed him to get to the rim for easy layups, or he could stop on a dime and hit the pull-up jumper from anywhere on the court. He also showed no fear of letting it fly from beyond the three-point line.

If a 50 point game on 51.5 shooting from the field isn’t good enough for ya, then guess what? He took things to an extremely new level on the last day of January!

Irving not only dropped 54 points that night against the Chicago Bulls, but he did it on 19-of-23 shooting! The only two players who could say they’ve had a 50+ point game with higher efficiency are Michael Jordan and Wilt Chamberlain.

As these highlights suggest, Kyrie is very strong at getting points on the drive and on pull-up jumpers. Irving averaged 10.4 points on drives on a 51.5 field goal percentage, and 11.5 points on pull-up jumpers on a 42.8 field goal percentage.

For a 6’2″ guard with not much leaping ability being able to convert such a high percentage of his shot attempts on drives, it takes a ton of dribbling wizardry which Kyrie clearly has. Not only is it impressive by the numbers, but it also makes for some beautiful basketball to watch.

Adding Kevin Durant to the mix will only create more room for Irving to operate next season, and that’ll make him even scarier for opposing defenses to deal with.

For all his efforts this season, Irving became the fastest Nets player to score 500 points, as it took him only 19 games. Irving also became the only Nets player to score 45+ points in three games in a season, and 50+ points twice in a season.

For all the All-Star caliber players the Nets have had in their history, that is pretty darn impressive, and to be honest, he could’ve very well garnered some MVP buzz if he stayed healthy throughout the season and kept this performance up.

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Here’s to hoping Kyrie can get back to full health whenever the 2020-21 season starts and help lead the Nets to their first-ever championship. That is, of course, if the Nets don’t beat all odds and end up winning it all down in Disney.