Finally ! After 201 days without playing basketball, Kyrie Irving made his comeback on Wednesday with his team, the Brooklyn Nets. Put in the closet by his frankness, because of his desire not to be vaccinated, and therefore not to be able to play in certain states, he had still not started his season. But the Covid finally “smiled” on Irving. However deprived of basketball because of the virus, it is thanks to the exponential number of cases in the workforce that the board decided to reinstate him. The former Cavalier, rather in leg, did not give the impression of being unduly affected by his sanitary sidelining since the start of the season. But in the short and medium term, is this solution viable?
A lively recovery
He didn’t seem like he had cut for almost eight months. Against the Pacers, his victorious comeback was punctuated by a very good individual performance, as evidenced by his stats: 22pts to 9/17 on shoot, 3rbds, 4asts, 3stls. Slightly borrowed at the start of the match, it gained momentum as the match progressed, giving the impression of never having stopped playing. If he spoke of course, we could have imagined that his return to competition would be more delicate. Above all, he had the intelligence not to force his game, by wanting to want to prove, to prove anything to himself. We could have thought of a revenge player, blacklisted by his family. He reacted very nicely. He also took the time to reflect, as he said: “I took a step back, reflect and try not to get too emotionally attached to what they had decided to do. I really had to consider their point of view, namely that of the club and my teammates. I respect this decision ”. And that’s good, as we know the faculty of the guy to embarrass himself by making people talk about him, not necessarily for the right reasons.
Strict rules in some cities
Unfortunately, the platiste will not have the opportunity to flaunt his qualities throughout the season. Indeed, in some American and Canadian cities, it is necessary to be vaccinated to have access to sports grounds. And no derogation is possible. No right pass (cuckoo Novak), proof of infection by the virus also not entering into force. Sting, nothing but sting! Irving, still reluctant to inject two small doses into his big muscular arm, will therefore be deprived of a lot of meetings … including all those at home! Indeed, the New York authorities require the vaccine pass to enter the Barclays Center, just like Madison Square Garden. This is also the case in Los Angeles, San Francisco and Toronto, which even bans spectators at present. The leader will therefore see his matches staggered, having too rarely the opportunity to chain. Indeed, he can, at best, play only 27 of the 45 remaining matches. While waiting to see the opponents of the Nets in the playoffs.
What about the playoffs?
A first round against the Raptors, out of play-in. A second against the New York enemy. A final against the Lakers or the Warriors. At best, therefore, 4 matches played over all the playoffs. This is obviously just fantasy, but there is a scenario where the Nets may have to do without their star point guard for most of the post-season. One thing is certain. Whatever happens, he will not make any home game. Unless by then, the state of New York revises its policy, which seems highly unlikely given the upsurge in cases due to the Omicron variant. So, if in addition, Brooklyn faces teams in cities where Uncle Drew is not allowed to practice, it can be confusing as to its use. And then, the playoff matches are often choppy matches, which you have to be able to prepare, analyze, where nothing is left to chance. How, in these cases, integrate a player who we do not know if he will be able to play a possible Game five, six or seven? Lots of questions that are impossible to answer at the moment.
Too much upheaval?
There is obviously no question of questioning the qualities of the player. But what can be done for his team, to constantly adapt to his back-and-forth movements within the workforce? We are indeed talking about a major player in the roster, which implies a way of playing, and therefore the whole group, including the two other stars James Harden and Kevin Durant, must put up with it. Irving, who has obtained the right to train at the franchise’s training center, the HSS Training Center (considered a private place), can therefore, at least, polish his automatisms. If that shouldn’t be too much of a problem during the regular season, how can you imagine, in the conference finals or even the NBA finals for example, a Kyrie Irving playing once in two? While there’s no denying that his input seems necessary for Brooklyn to land a ring, seeing him constantly in and out of the rotation will have an impact on the rest of the squad. What if there is failure? Who will suffer the consequences? Him, not to be vaccinated? The other two stars for not being able to adapt? His coach who will not have been able to adjust his game plans? Many questions remain unanswered, and may remain so for a while… probably until the end of the season.
However, his teammates and his coach do not want to force him to anything, although he would like to have it full-time. “I told him how important he is, how much I want him to play, to play every game. But I’m not going to force someone to get the shot, that’s not my thing. So he can play basketball? No, I’m not ready to do this. We’ve had conversations about how we want him to be part of the team and be there full time, but that’s up to him. Whatever decision he wants to make, he’s going to make it. It’s up to us to be professional no matter what, and to do our job”Durant said. James Harden bluntly declared his love for him: “We all know how special Kyrie is. What he represents for this organization and our team. Being close to him, even if it’s only for the road games, is going to be huge for us. Obviously, that makes the work of all of us much easier. But above all, we miss having him near us… ”
It wouldn’t take much to get things back to normal for the Nets, though. If everyone remains free of their convictions, it is obvious that Kyrie Irving would facilitate the task of his franchise by agreeing to be vaccinated, like 99% of NBA players. In the meantime, we will have to juggle his presence and his ban from certain NBA rooms. Steve Nash should be able to pull through by the end of the regular season. But beware, the real revealer will come in the post-season .. and right now, it seems very blurry.
Unconditional supporter of Olympique de Marseille but also of football in general.
Fan of the Houston Rockets but especially of The Beard.