After a rough start to the NBA Restart, the Brooklyn Nets picked up steam and haven’t looked back since, and they’re doing it without Kyrie Irving.
With their impressive victory on Sunday against the Los Angeles Clippers, the Brooklyn Nets moved to 4-2 in the bubble and now sit at 5-2 after a win over the Magic on Tuesday. With wins over legit title contenders such as the Clippers and Milwaukee Bucks, the underlining question is brought back to the spotlight… are the Nets better without Kyrie Irving?
Coming into the 2020 NBA Season many deemed the highly anticipated homecoming of the Brooklyn Nets guard as “the Year of Kyrie.”
With lofty expectations and the predetermined notice that the Nets would be without Kevin Durant for the year, many believed the success of the Nets were going to be solely bestowed on the shoulders of their six-time All-Star and NBA Champion point guard.
Irving is undoubtedly one of the league’s elite point guards when healthy, possessing the ability to cross up any defender who is assigned the impossible task of guarding him.
Being considered one of the top scorers with his lethal mid-range game and the ability to display ridiculous finishes at the rim, calling him a walking scoring machine is a sure-fire understatement.
However, due to his continuous battles with injuries, Irving managed to log only 20 games this season before requiring surgery on his ailing right shoulder. In 20 games, he posted great numbers averaging 27.4 points and 6.4 assists per game.
Aside from his great production while he was on the court, many questions lingered throughout the season in regards to his overall fit with the team. One concern is how the pairing of Irving and Spencer Dinwiddle in the backcourt would fare.
The Nets elected to initially start both guards at the beginning of the season yet this idea was not the best fit. Both needed the ball in their hands to be the best version of themselves which seems a bit problematic. The Nets then attempted to bring Diwiddle off the bench to buffer up their second unit which seemed to work with the two guards splitting time at the point guard position.
Dinwiddle thrived as the starting point guard when Irving was out due to injury, being the lead distributor for the Nets. Prior to the stoppage of play due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the Nets had a better winning percentage without Irving on the court compared to when he was in uniform. In his 20 games, the Nets record was 8-12 with him compared to 17-16 without him.
So the question is, is having Kyrie Irving on the team even worth it?