Irving looks to silence critics
When the Brooklyn Nets pulled off the stunning trifecta signings of free agents Kyrie Irving, Kevin Durant and DeAndre Jordan over the summer, it signaled to the rest of the league that they were ready to tangle with the big boys. Now the talent has to live up to the expectations.
Irving is at the center of those expectations. As their new point guard, he is tasked with running the offense, distributing the ball and setting up open shots for his teammates. Of course, he’ll also be expected to be a leader – and that might be a problem area.
By his own admission, Irving struggles with leadership. Last year with the Boston Celtics, Irving had problems meshing with some of his younger teammates and at times clashed with coach Brad Stevens as the team took a second round exit from the playoffs, a year after narrowly missing the NBA Finals.
Of course, his numbers in 2018-19 (per-game averages of 23.8 points, 6.9 assists and 5.0 rebounds) were vintage Irving but what was roundly considered a failed season in Beantown wound up on the point guard’s shoulders.
He gets a fresh start in Brooklyn with a new cast of supporting characters – minus Durant, who is expected to miss the season with a torn Achilles he sustained in last season’s NBA Finals – and a new chance to silence those leadership questions once and for all.
Irving and the Nets can be seen in action Thursday, Nov. 14, visiting the Denver Nuggets in the late game of a TNT doubleheader.
Full name: Kyrie Andrew Irving
Birth date: March 23, 1992
Birthplace: Melbourne, Australia
Height/weight: 6 feet, 2 inches/195 pounds
Teams: Cleveland Cavaliers (2011-17), Boston Celtics (2017-19), Brooklyn Nets (2019-present)
Draft: Selected in the first round (first overall) by the Cavaliers in 2011
Position: Point guard
Honors and achievements: Six-time NBA All-Star; NBA champion (2016); NBA All-Star Game MVP (2014); NBA Rookie of the Year (2012); NBA All-Rookie First Team (2012); gold medal at the 2016 Summer Olympics