The Brooklyn Nets are near the top of every NBA fan’s list of most-fascinating teams to watch heading into a new season. On top of their disappointing season a year ago, you have the drama-creating, three-headed monster of Kevin Durant, Kyrie Irving, and Ben Simmons.
Earlier in the offseason, it wasn’t clear whether or not Irving or Durant would even be Nets this season. But through all the drama, it sounds like the core group is developing into an even closer unit.
Irving has been labeled a distraction by most after making the personal decision to not get the jab. New York’s mandates against unvaccinated people were more of a distraction than Irving himself, despite most in the media being unwilling to admit it.
Nevertheless, Irving appears to have put the past behind him. Entering a contract season, both Durant and Brooklyn head coach Steve Nash are praising the point guard’s leadership abilities.
“Kai is amazing, talking to everybody, communicating, being one of the heads of the snake on both ends of the floor for us,” Durant said after Monday’s practice. “And we need that talk from everybody, the veteran guys, we need to continue to be in constant communication so we can figure things out on the court.”
“Having a guy like Kai – who’s won a championship, who’s been in those locker rooms and those series – is only going to help us moving forward.”
Kyrie Irving Averaged 27 Points Per Game Last Season
If – and granted, it’s a big if – Irving can remain focused and simply lead this team to the best of his abilities, then the Nets should battle for the Eastern Conference.
Nash has made it clear that Irving’s head is in the right place.
“Kyrie’s been unbelievable,” Nash said after practice. “His performances on both ends of the floor have been exceptional. Not just in games, but in practices. I think his leadership and mentorship to the young guys has been great. He’s just been outstanding top to bottom this whole preseason.”
A focused Irving flanked by Durant out to prove something is a lethal threat to the rest of the NBA.
Follow Mark Harris on Twitter: @itismarkharris
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