Kyrie Irving has been somewhat of a phenomenon ever since he arrived in the league. One would seldom put him in the MVP conversation, and yet everyone is in awe of his skills when he steps foot on the floor.
An absolute show-stopper, the Brooklyn Nets' Kyrie Irving gets the crowd on its feet when he 'razzle-dazzles' his way through defenders.
He signed with the Brooklyn Nets in 2019 as a free agent and dropped 50 points on his debut with the team. However, he didn't feature much last year, as he only played 20 games.
Kyrie Irving has a history of injuries that has potentially kept him from realizing his full potential.
Role with the Brooklyn Nets
Kyrie Irving has a combo-guard role in the Brooklyn Nets. He has always played the role of the point since his rookie year.
He ran the team's offense at both the Cleveland Cavaliers and the Boston Celtics and has also played the role with the Brooklyn Nets as well. However, since the arrival of James Harden in early January, Irving and Harden have switched roles. Harden facilitated the offense in the Houston Rockets but was always listed as a shooting guard.
Coach Steve Nash and the two stars decided to switch positions, as it made more sense for the team. Kyrie Irving can run the offense if asked to but has always been the player who gets the team a bucket more often than not. Meanwhile, James Harden's playmaking prowess makes him a perfect point guard.Advertisement
Kyrie Irving says James Harden is the point guard of the Nets:
"I just looked at him and said 'you're the point guard, and I'm gonna play shooting guard.'" pic.twitter.com/VQlHuVI7Bh— NBA Central (@TheNBACentral) February 14, 2021
In the absence of James Harden, who has been injured for the past few days, Kyrie Irving has reprised his role as the team's point guard. His defense has improved a lot and he plays and guards either backcourt position.
Season so far
Kyrie Irving is having one of his best seasons ever. He is averaging a career-high 27.9 points per game at 58% effective shooting from the floor. He has had 12 30+point outings this season in the 37 games he has played, along with registering four 40+ point outings.
Along with contributing 27.9 points per game, Kyrie Irving has also averaged 6.2 assists, 4.9 rebounds, 1.2 steals and 0.6 blocks per game.
He is playing one of the highest minutes he has ever played and is amazingly averaging a career-low in turnovers. Kyrie Irving is shooting 51% from the field on roughly 21 shot attempts per game and is shooting nearly 40% from beyond the arc. He is averaging 90.4% from the charity stripe and makes a trip to the line at least 2-3 times during a game.
Kyrie Irving tonight:
81 3P% (9 3PM)
Unreal efficiency. 🤯🔥 pic.twitter.com/I4OD4uwr4a— Hoop Central (@TheHoopCentral) February 16, 2021
However, he has missed a ton of games due to injury and personal reasons. Kyrie Irving has not played more than nine games in a row for the Brooklyn Nets, as he misses one or two games every few weeks for some reason or the other.
Kyrie Irving is on a championship roster this time, and there is a lot of pressure on him to perform at a high level come playoff time. It remains to be seen how he stands up to that challenge.
Strengths and Weaknesses
Kyrie Irving is probably one of the most skilled players in the game. It seems as though he has an unlimited number of moves in his arsenal, and he can get a bucket in a variety of ways.
Defenses panic when Irving dribbles the ball in front of them, as he almost always breaks down defenders with his nifty ball-handling and incredible lay-up package.
Irving's biggest weakness, though, is his long injury history. He has missed more games than he has played in the last two years and has not laced up for 15 games this season.Advertisement
Moreover, Kyrie Irving's off-court activities have always been his Achilles heel. Analysts and talk show hosts have often wondered if he is serious about the game at all. Irving is often asked to retire if he cannot do the job for which he gets paid millions of dollars.
Altogether, Kyrie Irving allocated around $950,000 in fines for missing 7 games due to personal reasons.— Legion Hoops (@LegionHoops) January 20, 2021
Certainly, no player should play through personal problems and mental issues. But Kyrie Irving's frequent absence from games has seen him labeled a flight risk, and many have wondered if that could potentially hamper the team's chemistry.
Expectations from Kyrie Irving gong forward
Kyrie Irving has a very simple task of showing up in games and continue to display his scoring prowess.
He is one of the most efficient players in the game, and his presence on the court is crucial, especially given Kevin Durant's injury woes this season.
Given the sheer number of All-Stars in the Brooklyn Nets roster, Kyrie Irving can enjoy the luxury of missing a few games in the regular season. But he would need to raise his level of play come the playoffs, as his team would face top-tier contenders in best-of-seven series.Advertisement
It remains to be seen if Kyrie Irving can deliver at the business end of the season when there would be more pressure on him.