Prior to the start of the 2021-22 NBA season, the Brooklyn Nets were seen as one of the favorites to win the NBA title.
What instead took place was a very mediocre regular season that gave way to a berth in the play-in tournament. Though the Nets proved victorious in the play-in tournament, they did not fare nearly as well in the playoffs.
In fact, they ended up getting swept by the Boston Celtics in embarrassing fashion in the first round. The series was probably all the more embarrassing for Nets star guard Kyrie Irving, who once played for the Celtics.
Irving’s general disdain for the Celtics organization is well-documented, and it is clear that he’s using last season’s playoff loss as motivation heading into the 2022-23 campaign.
Based on some recent words from Irving, he seems rather confident that the playoff loss to the Celtics served as an important “humbling” experience for himself and his Nets teammates.
— NetsKingdom 👑🗽 (@NetsKingdomAJ) September 19, 2022
“It was meant to happen like that — motivation bro,” he said. “We needed that humbling experience, especially going against the Celtics. It was already built to be that matchup. We gonna see them again. We gonna have to. They’re gonna be where they gonna be.”
Though Irving clearly is confident about his team’s future, the rest of the league will need to be convinced before taking the Nets seriously again. After all, the 2022 offseason has been one filled with drama for the team.
At a certain point, it looked rather likely that the Nets were going to lose Irving and his superstar teammate Kevin Durant. While both Irving and Durant have seemingly put their issues with the team behind them, there is no telling how either star will respond to adversity once the season begins.
Last season, Nets fans barely got to watch Irving play. Due to restrictions related to COVID-19, Irving was unable to play in home games for the Nets for a while. As a result, he suited up for just 29 games during the regular season.
Though he was able to play in all four of the team’s playoff games, it was clear that the lack of playing time the team had with him had a major impact. Things seemed off for the Nets, and they never really stood a chance in that series.
It will be interesting to see if anything changes for the squad in the upcoming campaign.