We've reached an unbelievable point where Kyrie Irving showing up to work is actually a headline. He could be the first part-time player in NBA history since Elgin Baylor played for the Los Angeles Lakers while serving on active duty in 1962.
Irving isn't attending a military camp that we know of. Instead, he's "doing his own research" on the COVID-19 vaccine and bailing out on his best friend Kevin Durant. He won't play in home games despite KD's desire to have him around.
But, even though some may think that losing Kyrie could hamper the Brooklyn Nets' championships to win a ring, a report by Basketball Forever just proved that they don't need him... at all.
Basketball Forever: Stats Prove The Nets Don't Even Need Kyrie Irving:
"Kyrie Irving missing games hardly made a difference to Brooklyn's wins & losses last season. The Nets won 67% of their games with Kyrie and 65% without him. Compare that with James Harden's importance: the Nets won 73% of their games with him, but just 52% without him," read the report.
"Plus when Kyrie missed games and Harden was available to run the point instead, Brooklyn won 78% of their games. When Kyrie was the only Nets star to suit up, they went 4-4. When he was the only star missing, they went 3-0. Brooklyn will be just fine," concluded the post.
Kevin Durant Says He Wants Kyrie Out There
The Nets may only need to keep Kyrie Irving around to keep Kevin Durant happy. In reality, he's more of a luxury asset than an actual need with KD and James Harden running the show. Even so, the 2-time Finals MVP still wants his friend around:
“That’s always tough when guys are in and out of the lineup, especially a starter like Kyrie. I don’t know exactly what the plan is going forward right now," Durant told the media, as quoted by Essentially Sports. "I’m going to keep playing and keep focusing on what we’re focusing on in the locker room and once that gets figured out, we move forward."
“At least he can practice, but we want him here for the whole thing. We want him here for games, home games, practices, away games, shootarounds, all of it. So, hopefully, we figure this thing out," Durant added.
The Nets have put together a strong and stacked roster. Having Kyrie in and out of the lineup could alter their chemistry every now and then. But at the end of the day, it seems like they'll be just fine.