Brooklyn Nets and Kenny Atkinson part ways, in shocking move

Kenny Atkinson, Brooklyn Nets. (Photo by Elsa/Getty Images)
Kenny Atkinson, Brooklyn Nets. (Photo by Elsa/Getty Images) /
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Brooklyn Nets
Kyrie Irving, Kevin Durant, Brooklyn Nets. (Photo by Jim McIsaac/Getty Images) /

Wrong Direction

This season was supposed to be another big step in the right direction since the Nets were able to land free agents Kevin Durant, Kyrie Irving, and DeAndre Jordan over the summer.

Granted, they knew Durant would not be playing this season, while he recovers from a torn Achilles. Even without KD, there was still optimism for success because of last year’s performance. Furthermore, the expectation of having a healthy Irving, who is considered one of the elite point guards in the NBA, was expected to help carry this team. Sadly, 2019-20 did not transpire the way the Nets’ front office and fans were expecting.

The season started to go south when Irving missed 26 games at the beginning of the year due to a shoulder injury. It was unsure how many games Irving would miss because the Nets kept the injury under wraps. But there was little concern since the team was still in the playoff picture.

Things started to seem fine once Irving announced that he would come back to play in mid-January. They beat Atlanta in his return, then it all fell apart as a five-game losing followed. In one of the games, Brooklyn blew a big fourth-quarter lead to Philly.

After the loss, Irving made an interesting comment about how the team needs a little more talent to become successful. According to Ben Rohrbach of Yahoo Sports, the point guard said:

"“Collectively, I feel like we have great pieces, but it’s pretty glaring we need one more piece or two more pieces that will complement myself, [Kevin Durant], [DeAndre Jordan], [Garrett Temple], Spence [Dinwiddie], Caris [LeVert], and we’ll see how that evolves.”"

This was an interesting statement and only added to the oddity of the season because Irving clearly left out Allen and Joe Harris as key players. Additionally, what made it more confusing was that the Nets were playing some of their best basketball while Irving was not on the court. Lastly, Durant, Irving, and Jordan are supposed to be those talented players the Nets needed to bring them a championship.

But even with Irving’s comments as well as his return to the lineup, Brooklyn believed they could get the season back on track. That was not the case as the Nets continued their middling season (probably because Irving was still injured). In the end, Irving was injured again (sprained medial ligament this time). He elected to have season-ending shoulder surgery, which only added to the letdown season.

The Nets continued in the playoff race due to some outstanding performances by key players (LeVert dropping 51 points anyone?). Saturday was the ultimate left turn, that no one could have expected. This is the low-point of what has been a confusing and downer of a season.