“I think he had a little retirement appetizer these last 8 months”

Reactions to Kyrie Irving‘s return to the Brooklyn Nets continue to pour in. He played his first game of the 2021-22 NBA season at Gainbridge Fieldhouse against the Indiana Pacers and was a significant contributor to their win.

As things stand, Kyrie Irving is restricted to only road games. He will not play against the Toronto Raptors, New York Knicks, and in the state of California, all of who have COVID-19 mandates prohibiting him from taking the court.

Not much was expected from Kyrie on his return. Everyone knows he has great handles and can score, but some rustiness was expected seeing as has not played since June 2021. He twisted his ankle during the Eastern Conference semi-finals against the Milwaukee Bucks and has not played since.

Reacting to his performance post-game, sports analyst Kevin Wildes was on First Things First with Nick Wright, Chris Broussard, and Jenna Wolfe. The analysts discussed how Kyrie Irving is starting to age and how much it showed that he missed playing basketball.

“A lot of things that you thought were gonna happen, happened. Kyrie handles, still there. Kyrie little mid-range jumpers, still there. Not great defense from the Nets that we saw last year, still there. There’s one thing that jumped out at me. It’s that when Kyrie was on the bench, he had little flecks of gray in his hair. It wasn’t just a random observation, it stuck with me for a reason,” said Wildes.

“I think it’s because Kyrie has always been synonymous with youth. We always remember Kyrie being young,” he added.

“Now I see Kyrie with the little flecks of gray in his hair and it made me think, he’ll be 30 in March, which is sort of like you’re not young you’re not old. It made me think that Kyrie had a little retirement appetizer these last eight months, and I don’t think he liked it.”

“When Kyrie was on the bench he had little specks of grey in his hair. Kyrie will be 30 in March. I think he had a little retirement appetizer these last 8 months & I don’t think he liked it as much as everyone thought he would. He really missed basketball.” — @kevinwildes

The general notion is that Kyrie Irving has always been okay with leaving the league at any time. But based on Wildes’ observation, it seems like Kyrie’s love for the game is almost unquantifiable, and he will not be open to missing such an extended period again.

Are the Brooklyn Nets once again NBA championship favorites with Kyrie Irving’s return?

Kyrie Irving #11of the Brooklyn Nets celebrates with teammates
Kyrie Irving #11of the Brooklyn Nets celebrates with teammates

The Nets are undoubtedly a more formidable unit with Kyrie Irving back on the floor, but they might not be the best team in the league. When it comes down to it, you cannot put it past Kevin Durant to will the team to victories, the same way LeBron James cannot be written off in a seven-game series.

The Nets have had Kevin Durant, James Harden and Kyrie Irving all play in 15 games together.The results? Pretty good:Record: 12-3Minutes: 349Pts diff: +114Off effic: 128.4Def effic: 113.9Net effic: +14.5 (via Second Spectrum)

Kyrie Irving was the joint top scorer with KD last season, averaging 26.9 points. In his first game of the season, he registered 22 points to snap the Nets’ three-game losing streak.

With Kyrie, the Nets have a better chance of contending for the championship even though he is just a part-time player. His skill set will be a welcome boost for the team, and the Big 3 reunion will likely make the Nets one of the most dreaded offenses in the league.

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