Sports Illustrated recently released its annual top-100 players list, with Brooklyn Nets’ All-Star point guard Kyrie Irving ranked at No. 15.
Throughout this week, Sports Illustrated’s Rob Mahoney has slowly rolled out his list of the top-100 NBA players for the 2019-2020 season. So far, we’ve seen a couple of Brooklyn Nets already land on the list; Jarrett Allen at No. 97, Joe Harris at No. 95, Spencer Dinwiddie at No. 92, and Caris LeVert at No. 69.
It’s worth mentioning that former Net point guard, D’Angelo Russell, landed at spot No. 44 behind the likes of Steven Adams, Andre Drummond, and Jayson Tatum.
Brooklyn’s new import, All-NBA second-teamer Kyrie Irving, landed on this same list — higher than some of his Nets counterparts. Mahoney pegged Uncle Drew at slot No. 15.
According to Mahoney, Kyrie’s ranking, which may appear a tad lower than expected due to his resume and career-year in 2018-2019, was not so much a measurement of his talent. However, it was more so a representative of everything he is off the floor.
Mahoney’s words, “It seems hard to know where you stand when you work with Kyrie Irving, which might be worse than knowing for certain that he’s unhappy. That’s not poor leadership. That’s being a bad teammate. Every team has its frictions, and most competitive ones have truly incendiary moments. Professionals communicate clearly in those moments, hear out the other side, and try to move on. Irving tried something else with the Celtics last season. Boston, shockingly, played disjointed basketball to the bitter end. It was Irving who led their descent into dysfunction with the season on the line, forcing up shots against a tough Bucks defense and calling for audibles that served no one. It was a fitting end to a season in which Irving demanded leadership of a team and then chafed at its practical, interpersonal realities.”
Since it’s release, Mahoney’s article has earned its fair share of public outcry within the Nets’ community.
In particular, folks found it ghastly that Irving fell below the likes of Karl-Anthony Towns and Rudy Gobert. Given that one player is mostly a defensive specialist, while the other has never been a part of a winning roster as the No. 1 option, it’s at least conceivable to see why. Kyrie’s talent and his championship pedigree certainly speak for itself.
Welcome to the NBA offseason, folks.