Fantasy Basketball: What can you expect from Kyrie Irving's return and how does it impact other Nets players?
Kyrie Irving is set to make his return as a part-time player for the Nets on Wednesday, Jan. 5 against the Pacers.That means congratulations are in order for Fantasy Basketball GMs who took a chance on Irving in their fantasy drafts this year, likely selecting the All-Star guard much later than he is typically available because of the uncertainty looming around his availability entering the season.
Though the Nets could definitely use him, especially now with Kevin Durant sidelined with his MCL injury, Kyrie Irving isn’t going to change his mind on receiving a COVID-19 vaccine.
Irving insisted on Monday, after their 114-107 loss to the Cleveland Cavaliers, that he wasn’t going to budge.
“I’ve made my decision already and I’m standing on it,” Irving said, via Nets Daily’s Matt Brooks.
Irving, of course, is one of the last coronavirus vaccine holdouts in the NBA and is still not allowed to play in home games for the Nets due to a New York City mandate. Irving made his season debut with the Nets earlier this month after the team reversed course and allowed him to play part-time.
Kevin Durant reveals what he told Kyrie Irving about return to Nets
Durant said after Friday’s loss to the Milwaukee Bucks that he has told Irving how happy he is to have the guard back, and that he would like him available for all games. Durant added, however, that he would not put any added pressure on Irving to get vaccinated in order to play home games in Brooklyn. Kevin Durant on Irving: "I told him how important he is and how much I want him to play all the games. But I'm not about to force someone to get the vaccine to play basketball. Nah; that's not my thing." #Nets — Brian Lewis (@NYPost_Lewis) January 8, 2022 Durant is walking a fine line here.
Irving hasn’t given much of a specific answer as to why he won’t get vaccinated, other than claiming he wants to be a “voice for the voiceless.” He made similar claims in a long-winded answer on Monday, and actually said that he is “not bringing science into the basketball game.”
What he means by that isn’t really clear. The only science at hand here is that Irving would be at a much lower risk of contracting, getting sick and spreading the coronavirus if he got vaccinated. And if he followed that science, he'd be allowed to play in every game with his teammates.
“I stay rooted in my decision,” he said, via NBC Sports. “That’s just what it is. It’s not going to be swayed by one thing in this NBA life that is somehow brought to my attention as being more important than what’s going on in the real world. It’s just not happening for me.”
Kevin Durant Exits Game vs. Pelicans With Sprained Left Knee
Durant hurt his knee after teammate Bruce Brown fell into it, and limped to the locker room for further inspection. View the original article to see embedded media.Nets star forward Kevin Durant had to leave Saturday’s game against the Pelicans in the second quarter after suffering a sprained left knee. The team officially ruled him out from returning.Durant injured his knee after teammate Bruce Brown fell into it while trying to defend New Orleans forward Herb Jones. Durant immediately grabbed his knee and began limping on the court, eventually heading to the locker room for further evaluation.
Nash: ‘We can’t cry’ about Kevin Durant’s injury
With Irving not willing to get vaccinated, the Nets will have trouble over the next month or more.
Durant sprained the MCL in his left knee in Saturday’s 120-105 win against the New Orleans Pelicans. Though the team didn’t announce how severe that sprain was or how long he’d be gone, ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski reported that Durant is going to miss four-to-six weeks at least.
At best, Durant’s earliest return would come just after the All-Star break next month.
Thankfully for the Nets, 11 of their next 16 games are on the road — meaning that Irving should be available. Irving, James Harden and Durant have played just two games together this season due to Irving’s vaccine holdout and other injuries.
While Nets coach Steve Nash would obviously love to have his three stars on the court at the same time ahead of any potential postseason run, he’s not going to get upset about the situation he’s in now in mid-January.
The ripple effect of Kevin Durant's absence: How injury impacts Nets, playoff picture and MVP race
Kevin Durant's standing as one of the best players in the NBA means his absence will be felt across the league. Brooklyn is scheduled to play 17 games ahead of the All-Star Break, which Wojnarowski reports is a "realistic benchmark" for Durant's return. With an MVP candidate set to miss at least a month of action, there could be a league-wide ripple effect. NBA League Pass: Sign up to unlock live out-of-market games (7-day free trial) The ripple effect of Kevin Durant's absence Brooklyn Nets Let's start with the obvious.
© Provided by Yahoo! Sports The Nets still aren't able to play Kyrie Irving in home games as he remains adamant against receiving a coronavirus vaccine. (Andy Lyons/Getty Images)
“If they get a bunch of games together, great. If they don’t, they don’t,” Nash said Monday, via ESPN. “And we’ll be playing the cards we’re dealt so it’s a little bit out of our hands. We just have to do the best we can. We can’t cry about it. We can’t feel sorry for ourselves. We got to keep building, see what we can learn, how we can grow during this period … and how we can continue to move this thing forward so when they do come back, we’re in a better place — and he can rejoin us in a better place where we can feel better about where we are in that part of the season.”
The Republican Party’s Anti-Vaxx Wing Is Too Big to Fail .
Too late to purge the kooks.