The Brooklyn Nets are currently the favorites to win the NBA Championship for the upcoming season. However, the organization’s star point guard will not participate in home games as the New York City mandate would require Kyrie Irving to be vaccinated. Irving will be able to play on the road depending on each state’s rules and regulations.
The Kyrie Irving Situation Could Put the Nets in a Tough Spot
There was a rumor that the Brooklyn Nets wanted to make a deal with the Philadelphia 76ers in exchange for Ben Simmons. Simmons was looking for a change in scenery as he was fined for each day he did not show up for training camp. The Brooklyn Nets still have Kevin Durant and James Harden who can carry the offense when Irving is not active.
Going back to last season, Irving was a big part of the offense especially when Durant and Harden dealt with injuries as he averaged 26.9 PPG and 6.0 APG in 54 appearances. The Eastern Conference has gotten better as the power shifted a bit this offseason with teams like the Chicago Bulls, Miami Heat, and New York Knicks making the most notable signings this offseason. However, the Nets brought in solid guards through free agency and the draft.
Patty Mills has had a solid career in the NBA as he spent the last ten years with the San Antonio Spurs, and also led Team Australia to secure a bronze medal in Tokyo over Slovenia. Another guard that has caught the league’s attention is Cam Thomas who surprisingly fell to the Nets in the 2021 NBA Draft. By making a statement in the Summer League, it may put Steve Nash and the rest of the coaching staff in a tough spot to incorporate the right minutes’ restriction and usage rate when on the road.
Are the Nets in Trouble When Playing at Home
On a positive note, the Nets were 12-6 last season when Irving was out due to injuries and personal reasons. Even though the adversity of missing their stars on a few occasions, the Nets were one game behind the 76ers from tying for the best record in the Eastern Conference and one game away from making the NBA Finals as the eventual champs Milwaukee Bucks won in seven.
Steve Nash told reporters on Sunday,
” I think we recognize he’s not playing home games,…We’re going to have for sure play without him this year. So it just depends on when, where, and how much.”
There is nothing the franchise or anyone in the front office could do as the league did not make the vaccine a requirement.
Still, Kyrie Irving will be allowed access and practice at the team’s facility in Brooklyn. This was allowed as the practice facility is deemed private property as opposed to an indoor gym. Irving has not been with the team as the team returned from California.
The Nets will have to make the impossible work as the Bucks are still the team to beat as they have the structure and lineup to defend the title. The Nets certainly have the team to make a championship run with or without Irving as James Harden is essentially a combo guard and is exceptional at scoring and dishing the basketball.
Irving stated himself that he does not want to be a distraction to the team but the Nets will certainly need him as he is the third highest-paid player and second-best scorer on the team. One could say that the Nets will be fine as the Nets have two top 10 players on the court every night, but Harden and Durant have dealt with injuries.
With the team’s aspiration of winning a title, the Nets can only hope that no Irving’s commitment to the team is present when on the road.
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