NBA

Kyrie Irving is back, and here’s why history tells us it’s actually bad news for the Nets

Kyrie Irving is back, and here’s why history tells us it’s actually bad news for the Nets

Kyrie Irving is back from suspension. Ben Simmons has put together three consecutive games that echo his past excellence. I Kevin Durant he’s still Kevin Durant, a transcendent scoring machine averaging 30+ points per game who finally broke free of the head coach he tried to oust over the summer.

Take advantage of the opportunity to beat an abused Philadelphia 76ers team on Tuesday night, and gets its third straight win for the first time this season, and the good vibes emanate from the Brooklyn Nets.

Don’t fall for anything. This Nets team has nothing but disappointment and drama to offer.

Of course, the temporary sense of positivity, a specialty of the Brooklyn Nets, is sure to extend if Simmons has another good outing in his return to Philly. Or if Irving, having played just 26 minutes after returning from an eight-game suspension for promoting an anti-Semitic video, has a breakout performance.

Don’t get sucked in.

The hype may be stronger, but the charade remains the same: This talent-laden group is a ticking time bomb, not a title contender. They are all drama and no depth. They are the shine without a real chance to shine.

Of course, as with all things in sports, they could cause an upset. The Durant-Irving-Simmons trifecta would cement itself, against all odds and history, and see a regular-season winning streak lead to a playoff run worthy of all the hype that’s been going on in Brooklyn since Kyrie and KD they united

But history, common sense and lots of N.B.A League sources say what’s more common is more of the same: drama, the okey-dokey contender and an inevitable grotesque crisis that reminds us who they always were.

Star power is essential to a championship, but chemistry is the secret sauce that must accompany it. This is one of the reasons why Golden State Warriorsyear after year, they’ve dominated, with or without Kevin Durant: This locker room is full of real leaders, real beliefs and real togetherness, or at least until Draymond Green teammate hit Jordan Poole in the face earlier this season.

This recent Los Angeles Lakers The team says the other side of the coin: talent without union can turn into hopeless recrimination.

But lebron james, Russell Westbrook i Anthony Davis they’re a TED talk about camaraderie and chemistry compared to this Nets team.

Start with Irving, the basketball presence in Brooklyn so far has fallen far short of expectations. Irving is very talented on the wing. But outside of playing with LeBron in LeBron’s prime, a major asterisk, Irving has been a perennial negative for nearly every team he’s been on. Literally

This season, the Brooklyn Nets are 3-6 with their star point guard — and 5-3 without him.

This may sound like a statistical anomaly drawn from a stupidly small sample size, but dig a little deeper. Look at the facts and the lack of impact he’s had in his time away from LeBron.

In the six seasons, including this one, since Kyrie Irving forced his way out Cleveland Cavaliershis team has been better at winning percentage with him on the floor than without him in just one season.

one

And that was five years ago, in his first season in Boston.

The cold lineups of Kyrie’s teams in the regular season with and without him are amazing:

So here’s the scoreboard looking back over the previous five seasons: He improved his team once. There was another one, by win percentage, that was a dead heat. And then there were three where he was an albatross to success.

Bad times have been more common lately. In three of the last four seasons, Kyrie’s presence on the floor turned his team into a sub-.500 squad. That’s a sample of 83 games over three seasons, basically a full regular season, in which Kyrie turns a good team into a loser.

So, no, Kyrie’s drama, the best and ugliest personified by the latest self-inflicted saga, is not the cost of his greatness. It’s a glimpse into the toll his supposed greatness is taking on his teams.

And only Kyrie.

Take Simmons, who – and there’s no way to put it kindly – instills the least confidence in the big moments of perhaps any player in NBA history. The slump missing in the playoffs and then-head coach Doc Rivers throwing him under the bus afterward might have broken him.

Yes, he has played well in recent games, and we should all hope that he thrives and proves doubters like me wrong. No player deserves to have a career ruined by any combination of the physical and mental injuries that got him here. But life is not fair, as others like it to be Markelle Fultz can testify

If a big part of your plan for NBA success relies on Ben Simmons, not least in big games, when the pressure is on and his memories and frailties must feel 1,000 times greater, that plan he is in big trouble.

The person asked to guard this angst fest is Jacque Vaughn, who has three things going against him: his 71-165 career record. He has never won more than 23 games in a single season. And the fact that he was clearly Durant’s second-choice candidate after the Nets pulled out of hiring suspended Boston Celtics head coach Ime Udoka.

This is not a shot at Vaughn. A Nobel Peace Prize winner could struggle to bring this group together. But it’s hard to see a second-choice coach clearly endorsed by a single superstar finding the secret to this disturbing cocktail of grievances, stress and disappointment.

All this pressure comes during, whose talents are extreme even by historical standards. But in the NBA we tend to look at the stars, get blinded by what we see, and have trouble focusing on the important details.

As with this Nets team as a whole, Durant is a huge talent who doesn’t have a track record, outside of a run with the loaded Warriors, of winning NBA championships. It’s hard to see through his greatness, but Durant, the star, has shone so brightly that we’ve missed his lack of resume far from Stephen Curry & Co., a LeBron-like winner.

If last year’s run by the Golden State Warriors didn’t convince people of that, it’s hard to see what will, though: Curry was always the best and most important player on those Warriors teams. This always made KD the second best player on the two championship teams KD played on.

You know what disproves that? Winning without Curry, just like Curry winning without Durant proved his worth as a champion, NBA Finals MVP, and all-time great capable of carrying a team to the end.

Durant has never done it. And with this Nets team, with Kyrie Irving as a teammate, with Ben Simmons as a key piece who will be called upon in moments of pressure, he never will.





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