Kyrie Irving is blanketing the outside noise and he’s going to continue to be himself for the Brooklyn Nets.
"I'm not going to be petty, but there's been a lot of things said about what I bring to the locker room"
Nets guard Kyrie Irving says he has a great relationship with his teammates pic.twitter.com/2yOgdAZ5vx
— SNY (@SNYtv) January 13, 2020
“I’m just going to continue to be me,” Irving told reporters. “That’s what I’ve made my mark on, just teaching guys but as well as giving them positive encouragement when needed, pulling guys to the side, making sure that we have some team outings, making sure we’re just collectively on the same page.”
Irving’s final season in Boston was underwhelming. The team did not live up to expectations, and plenty of the blame fell on his shoulders. The narrative is set on the 26-year-old—be it fair or not—but there has been no indication that Irving has been anything but great with his new teammates.
“In my mind Kyrie’s been great with the Nets, he’s been great with me, great with his teammates,” head coach Kenny Atkinson said per Brian Lewis of the New York Post.
Ultimately, what’s likely to dampen the narrative is winning. When the Nets lose with Irving in the rotation, stories will surface. When they win, comfortable silence.
After Sunday’s win against the Atlanta Hawks, Irving’s numbers are sitting at 27.9 points, 5.2 rebounds, and 6.8 assists on 46.4/34.8/93.7 splits. The Nets are 5-7 with him in the rotation and 13-13 without.
With games against the Jazz, Sixers (twice), Bucks, and Lakers, Irving and the Nets have a chance to put their season back on track against premier opposition. The road ahead will be tough. The Nets will have to be on the same page to gain traction in the Eastern Conference.