Many disapproved of the Brooklyn Nets‘ decision to have Kyrie Irving feature as a part-time player, but he has proved them wrong. The Nets enjoyed a win against the Indiana Pacers last night, and Kyrie was a big part of why they won.
After missing almost the first half of the 2021-22 NBA season, Nets owner Joe Tsai chose to bring Kyrie back into the fold despite his refusal to get vaccinated. Before the start of the season, the Nets said they were never going to accept Kyrie as a part-time player but have seemingly changed their stance as the season progressed.
Following his dominant display on his season debut, pundits have given their take on his return, with many having nothing but positive remarks. Shannon Sharpe, on “Skip and Shannon: Undisputed,” could not contain his excitement with Kyrie Irving’s performance. On the latest episode of the show, when asked how impressive Irving was on a scale of 1-10:
“I gave him a 10 because it’s not many guys that can get off their couch in a professional sport and say, you know what? ‘I think I’m ready to go back and do this,’ and do what that man did. Kyrie just put everybody on notice last night, he did that after being on his couch for 4 months? Damn!”
However, Kyrie failed to convert both of his attempted three-pointers, resulting in a 0% shooting efficiency from beyond the arc on the night. Sharpe went on to expand on this earlier on in the show, stating that he is confident Kyrie will find his shooting touch from range again.
“That outside shot is gonna come back. The mid-range, he had the 12-footer going. His three-point ball was a little short, the 18-footer, he didn’t have that last night.” Sharpe added.
Sharpe went on to list some of the possible factors that caused the to Nets change their mind about bringing Kyrie Irving back as a part-time player, including rival teams looking increasingly good and internal COVID-19 outbreaks within the Nets, adding:
“They said, ‘Look here, you know what? We’ll take a part-time player, because that guy is so good, he is so special, and he showed you down the stretch, he is special.”
As it stands, Kyrie will only play road games for the Nets as New York City has a mandate prohibiting him from playing home games due to his vaccination status. It will require frequent changes in style, but the players and coaching staff are willing to make it work.
Last night’s performance from Irving provided a positive early indication to the Nets’ that they made the right decision. Not many players would be able to come back looking as good as Kyrie Irving did after missing so much time on the court. Although it was not a blowout win, he helped the Nets quell the hot-handed pair of Domantas Sabonis and Lance Stephenson.
Kyrie Irving started his 2021-22 NBA season on a high note
Missing action for an extended period is not great for ball players, as they will need a lot more time for conditioning. But Kyrie Irving played like he never left. Although Kevin Durant led the scoring with 39 points, Kyrie made shots when it mattered most, helping the Nets overturn a 7-point deficit at halftime.
Kyrie had a difficult first quarter, going 0-of-3 from the field, but turned things around early in the second quarter. He finished the game with 22 points, three rebounds, four assists, and three steals while shooting 52.9% from the field.
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The Nets will play two home games before heading back on the road. If Kyrie Irving continues performing at a high clip, the Nets will be the team to beat, just as many thought coming into the season. One would imagine that Brooklyn fans will be excited at their team’s prospects of going all the way this year.