The Brooklyn Nets enjoyed elite point guard play for the first time since 2012 when Deron Williams was still on the team and the organization was just relocated from New Jersey to Brooklyn. Fast forward seven years and the entire concept of Brooklyn lured both Kyrie Irving and Kevin Durant to the smaller team in New York.
Irving, though, brings a consistency to the point guard position the Nets haven’t seen in quite a while. D’Angelo Russell was fantastic in 2018, averaging 21.1 points per game and 7.0 assists. He was an All-Star and helped carry the Nets into a playoff appearance, despite losing in the first round to the Philadelphia 76ers.
The influence of an everyday premium point guard is significant, and the team will see the benefits this year. Irving has only dipped below 20 points per game (season average) twice in his eight-year career, the last being in 2015-16 with 19.6.
The primary issue with Irving is that to be quite frank, he’s a little crazy, and players have a hard time developing chemistry with him. He’s a very self-centered player, never averaging over 6.9 assists per game throughout his entire career (has never been top 10 in this category). While a number of Nets players were actively recruiting Irving to the Brooklyn, including Spencer Dinwiddie, it seemed as if he was coming all along.
Irving is more offensively gifted than D’Lo, recording fewer turnovers and more points per game consistently. But while Russell seemed to elevate the players around him, at times Kyrie only helps himself. With Durant not on the floor for a majority of 2019, we will see how influential Irving really is, and if he can will the newly built team to a second consecutive playoff appearance.