With the recent news on Kyrie Irving’s return date, basketball fans will soon get their chance to see Irving back on the court for a Brooklyn Nets game. The Nets announced on Monday that Irving would begin practicing again with the team, and that he will be allowed to compete in all road games for Brooklyn.
Kyrie Irving return date
According to reports from The Athletic’s Shams Charania, Kyrie Irving will make his season debut on January 5th on the road against the Indiana Pacers.
Due to Irving’s vaccination status and New York’s COVID-19 policies making him unable to play games in Brooklyn, the Nets have kept Irving away from the team through the first couple of months of the season.
With a recent change, the Nets agreed to make Irving a part-time player for the team. He will be able to practice with the team both at home and on the road but will only be allowed to play in road games. This will be Irving’s first NBA game since he scored 11 points against the Milwaukee Bucks in game four of last season’s Eastern Conference semifinals.
How does Irving impact the Nets?
The Brooklyn Nets record in 2021-22 is 23-11, which is the best record in the Eastern Conference. With that record, it begs the question, will Kyrie Irving actually help or hurt the Nets more by playing with the team as a part-time player?
The positive impact of Irving on the Nets
There are a couple of good reasons to allow Kyrie Irving to play in road games for the team the rest of the season. One of which is that the Nets need Irving if they want an NBA championship. Sure, the Brooklyn Nets would be just fine without Irving for the rest of the regular season, but come playoff time, they would definitely miss his presence.
Irving is one of the best ball-handers of all time and has shown his ability to step up in the playoffs at the biggest moments. With James Harden and Kevin Durant also on the team, it makes the Nets a three-headed monster. Having three superstars instead of two puts a ton more pressure on opposing defenses.
Currently, Durant ranks second in the league in minutes per game, while Harden ranks fourth. With Kyrie Irving in the fold, the Nets will be able to reduce Durant’s and Harden’s minutes on the road. This will keep them fresh come playoff time.
The negative impact of Irving on the Nets
The biggest negative with Kyrie Irving rejoining the team is that he will only be able to play road games. This will be the first time a player will have to do this.
With Irving’s part-time status, this puts a lot of pressure on Nets head coach Steve Nash. Nash must implement Irving in a way that will not disrupt any chemistry made through the team’s first 34 games. Irving vs Westbrook is not a perfect comparison, but the Nets will hope that Irving’s transition back with the team will go smoothly, as opposed to Westbrook’s rocky transition with playing alongside LeBron James and the Los Angeles Lakers.
The use of Irving will also lead to a reduction of minutes for key role players on the Nets. A reduction of role players’ minutes may cause a rift between teammates. His special treatment may not sit well with everyone and could be a problem down the road.
Whether the move proves to be effective or not, the NBA world will be closely watching when Irving returns to the Nets come Wednesday night in Indiana.
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