After months of controversy and rumor, he is scheduled to play again this Wednesday in a road game against the Indiana Pacers.
Kyrie Irving is expected to make his return vs. the Pacers. 👀 pic.twitter.com/quWSBb5MHL
— theScore (@theScore) January 3, 2022
Irving has missed the first 35 games of the season, leaving a massive hole in the Nets’ roster.
His refusal to receive the COVID vaccine and local New York laws made it impossible for Irving to play.
While he has always been able to play in away games where regulations don’t require vaccines, the team decided not to use Irving at all until he could be a full participant.
However, with multiple absences for Brooklyn due to COVID and injuries, the Nets’ front office got desperate and decided to change their tune about Irving.
So now we are about to see one of the best point guards in the league play again – at least for away games.
Staying Home At Home
It’s important to remember one thing about the Iriving situation: nothing has changed.
Irving still doesn’t have his vaccine shots and New York still hasn’t changed their laws related to them.
That means that Irving is unable to enter the Barclays Center and will never be used in a Nets home game.
That means the team is still going to miss Irving when they need him most.
For example, there are multiple home games this month that are going to be brutal for the Nets: they are playing against the Milwaukee Bucks, Memphis Grizzlies, and Cleveland Cavaliers at home.
With reports that Kyrie Irving is expected to return this week, the Nets will have seven road games this month.
— 𝙏𝙖𝙡𝙠𝙞𝙣’ 𝙉𝘽𝘼 🗣️ (@_Talkin_NBA) January 3, 2022
And they won’t get any of Irving’s help for those.
Not only will this hurt because they will lack his point production, it will also hurt because having Irving come in and out of the team can only mess up chemistry.
You have to remember how a team is supposed to ideally work as a unit.
They play best when they are used to their lineup and used to who they are playing with.
Irving’s situation means he will be there and then gone and then there again and it could throw off rhythm and lead to some stilted, confusing play.
Of course, there is a chance that Irving fits like a glove once he rejoins the team and none of this is a problem.
But the Nets run the risk of really screwing up a good thing by putting Irving in – and out – of the lineup.
What About Injuries?
Irving is also re-entering the roster at a pivotal time in the season…one that is often filled with injuries.
The Nets are known for having a few players who get hurt often – including Irving himself.
Being absent so long only increases the chance of Irving’s body being a little rusty and prone to a mishap.
If that happens, it will only complicate matters even more.
Additionally, what happens if a different Nets player is hurt and Irving can’t replace them because it’s a home game?
You can see just how frustrating this entire arrangement is.
It’s good that Irving will be playing for Brooklyn again but his return is sure to bring a few logistical headaches that the team would rather go without.