Kyrie Irving’s message was clear, the Brooklyn Nets “need one more piece or two more pieces” to be considered genuine contenders.
This was never going to be the year the Nets were all in. With Kevin Durant likely out for the season rehabbing from a ruptured Achilles tendon, such expectations would be ill-advised.
However, there was hope that this campaign would act as a building block for the one to follow. Nearing the halfway mark of the 2019/20 NBA season sitting at 18-22, this team—despite nagging injuries—has not performed to expectation.
Per Tim Bontemps of ESPN, here’s what Irving had to say following their stomach-turning loss to Philadelphia Wednesday night.
Kyrie Irving was asked after tonight’s loss to Philly about this game against a top East opponent showing how much work the Nets still have to do in order to compete at the highest level while waiting for Kevin Durant to return. Here’s Irving’s answer: pic.twitter.com/NAqA4OvQk2
— Tim Bontemps (@TimBontemps) January 16, 2020
There’s quite a bit to unpack here. Given the season that Irving had in Boston last year, such a statement will likely welcome backlash. However, he does make a solid point, the complementary pieces on this roster have underwhelmed.
Sean Marks has proven in the past to be both fearless and cold-blooded when it comes to drastic roster alterations, don’t expect that to change.
It’s noteworthy that there still is a fair share of basketball to be played. Just because they’re struggling in January in the midst of a five-game gauntlet doesn’t mean they won’t turn things around in the spring.
For the season, Irving is averaging 27.2 points, 5.3 rebounds, and 6.9 assists. Though he has missed 26 games this season due to a right shoulder injury, he’s been his usual self when active in the lineup.
As a team, the Nets desperately need to find rhythm and consistency before things really begin to spiral. They’ll look to get back in the win column when they host the Milwaukee Bucks Saturday at 6:00 p.m. EST.