The Brooklyn Nets have had one of the NBA’s most talented squads over the last couple of seasons, but they have very little to show for it.
Both of their stars, Kevin Durant and Kyrie Irving, have been injury-prone, and NBA reporter David Aldridge thinks Irving would actually be harder to replace should he get hurt.
“I don’t think they can replace Kyrie,” said Aldridge. “It sounds crazy, I think they can more easily replace KD than they can replace Kyrie, ’cause nobody does what Kyrie does!”
Irving is certainly a sensational player who has skills very few throughout NBA history could match.
He is an incredible ball-handler, to the point where many think he is the greatest ever in that category. His ability to break off defenders and elude traps and double teams is the stuff of legends.
I miss the NBA—but it’s a joy to watch these 3 minutes of Kyrie Irving’s ball handling virtuosity. pic.twitter.com/En9obgIF8c
— Ted Gioia (@tedgioia) March 15, 2020
Irving is one of the top scorers in the league, like Durant, and both of them score very efficiently, whether it’s at the rim or from 3-point range.
But perhaps Irving’s most valuable quality is his crunch-time production. He is arguably the NBA’s best and most dangerous player in the clutch, and he has made numerous clutch shots throughout his career.
Kyrie Irving is so damn clutch🔥pic.twitter.com/y3pT9fHjAu
— Hoop Central (@TheHoopCentral) October 26, 2019
— NBA (@NBA) December 26, 2018
6️⃣x NBA All-Star
1️⃣of the most clutch shots in NBA history
Kyrie Irving turns 28 today. pic.twitter.com/INSSUFcSBo
— SportsCenter (@SportsCenter) March 23, 2020
But the counter to this argument is the fact that some of Irving’s teams, including these Nets, have seemingly been better when he has been injured.
During the 2019-20 season, Brooklyn actually did very well when Irving was out with a shoulder injury.
But overall, the Nets sorely need Irving.
His refusal to get a COVID-19 vaccine torpedoed their season last year, as he wasn’t allowed to play in any games that took place in the five boroughs that make up New York City, per a citywide vaccine mandate.
As a result, the team never built any true chemistry, leaving it ripe for the picking when it got swept by the Boston Celtics in the first round of the 2022 NBA Playoffs.
If Irving, Durant and new teammate Ben Simmons are healthy, committed and motivated, the Nets will have a real shot at winning their first-ever NBA championship this coming season.