When the Nets decided to bring Irving back, it was a shock. After all, Marks made a clear statement on Oct. 12 explicitly stating that Irving wouldn’t be allowed to be a part-time player. So when that decision was reversed a little over two months later, Brooklyn received a lot of flak for going back on its word.
Marks spoke to the media and said the point guard was granted the green light to return namely because of two things: how COVID-19 had decimated the roster and the workload that had been placed on the Nets’ top players.
Brooklyn’s roster being affected by the health and safety protocols was a temporary issue that’s already been fixed, but the workload that Durant and James Harden have inherited is still excessive.
Entering Wednesday’s matchup in Indiana, Durant’s averaging a league-high 36.9 minutes per game and Harden’s averaging 36.5. We’ve been harping on longevity all season now because the amount of minutes that KD and Harden have been playing isn’t sustainable. The goal is to be healthy by the time that the playoffs roll around, not depleted.
Irving’s entrance back into the lineup will give his fellow stars a chance to take a breather, even if it’s just for away games.
It’s been nearly seven months since he last played in a game, so the Nets are getting a much-needed energy spark at nearly the halfway mark of the regular season. It’ll be a welcome sight to see Durant and Harden on the bench catching their breath more often.