The Brooklyn Nets are 2-2 to start the season and point guard Kyrie Irving’s absence isn’t helping at all.
The Nets decided that Irving wouldn’t be part of the team unless he either decided to get vaccinated or if New York City lifted its vaccine mandate. Brooklyn has started the season without one of its best players, leaving head coach Steve Nash to experiment with different lineups and rotations. While the Nets are trying to work through their kinks on the court, the media is continuing to inquire about Irving.
There’s no doubt that Brooklyn is missing their star point guard on the court, but the Nets made the right decision by keeping him away from the team rather than mixing him in half of the time when he would be permitted to play in road games and/or practice away from New York City. It would’ve been far too difficult to adjust and juggle.
MVP favorite Kevin Durant has played like his usual self, but has made it clear that what Brooklyn decides to do and what Kyrie decides to do isn’t going to alter his focus. His stats are proof of that. Durant has averaged 31 points, 9.8 rebounds and 5.8 assists during the team’s first four games of the regular season.
It’s still very early, but you know each loss is going to open the door for the media to ask about Irving’s situation. Even if Brooklyn was off to a 4-0 start, the Irving questions would still find their way into postgame pressers. He’s one of the top guards in the league and he’s not playing with his championship-caliber team, so it’s going to be a hot topic for as long as he’s off the court.
Kyrie Irving questions continue to plague Kevin Durant, Brooklyn Nets in their postgame interviews.
Following Sunday’s 111-95 loss to the Charlotte Hornets, Durant was asked whether or not the Nets have enough to win without Irving. KD scored 38 points on 17-for-24 shooting, so the “what ifs” probably aren’t the type of questions that he was hoping to answer.
Here’s a portion of what he told the media when asked if the Nets are able to achieve their ultimate goal without Irving:
"“While we are playing in a game, I am not going to sit there and say … when we get down or it is a tight game, like ‘Damn, we don’t have enough. We are not going to be thinking about [that] during the game. We definitely want Kyrie Irving out here on the floor. And he is a huge part of what we do. But it is not happening right now. So we got to figure it out.”"
Would the Nets be better with Irving? No doubt. In the 74 games that he’s played with Brooklyn, Irving has averaged 27 points, 6.1 assists and 4.9 rebounds. The Nets could use his playmaking ability.
We’re sure that Durant expected to answer questions about Irving, especially considering the protests that took place prior to Sunday’s home opener, but at this point it’s hard to view this anything but a distraction. It’s taking away from basketball. It’s taking away from anything the Nets have to figure out on the floor. And it’s certainly not what KD wants to talk about since he’s got plenty to worry about himself.