Kyrie Irving seems to be finding a home in Brooklyn. The star guard is second in the NBA in scoring after his first three games with the Nets. However, according to a report by ESPN’s Jackie McMullen, the team has “unspoken concerns” about Irving’s mood swings, which surfaced during the team’s trip to China earlier this month.
“When Irving lapses into these funks, he often shuts down, unwilling to communicate with the coaching staff, front office and, sometimes, even his teammates,” McMullen reported.
The hope is that Irving’s long-time friend and now teammate Kevin Durant can help snap Irving out of these funks. But KD feels it’s his job to give Kyrie space when he gets into a mental lapse.
“I look at Kyrie as somebody who is an artist,” Durant told McMullen. “You have to leave him alone. You know what he’ll bring to the table every night because he cares so much about the game. Now, it might not be how other people want him to care about it. He has his way of doing things. I respect who he is and what he does. He has all the intangibles you want in a teammate and a great player. So, how he gets to the point to be ready for 7:30 every night, I’m supporting him 100 percent.”
According to The Athletic’s Alex Schiffer, other Nets teammates have also chimed in on Kyrie’s mood swings.
“DeAndre Jordan joins the Kyrie Irving defenders and said he hasn’t seen Irving do anything negative to the team,” Schiffer reported. “If he had/would, Jordan would speak up to him on it as his friend and teammate.”
The Nets will next play on Wednesday in Brooklyn against the Indiana Pacers. Irving is looking to continue his hot start.
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Right after the final buzzer sounded, Kyrie ran over to the sidelines to embrace his father. The two exchanged hugs and Kyrie gave him the shirt right off his back. The moment was captured on camera and aired on the TV broadcast.
Perhaps the proximity to Irving’s father can also help stave off his frequent mood swings. Irving is from West Orange, New Jersey and grew up watching the Nets as a kid. He has said on multiple occasions that the Nets are his hometown team.
Irving’s Hot Start
Despite a 1-2 start and questions abound on defense, the star guard remains a bright spot for Brooklyn. Irving put together a near-flawless effort on offense in Sunday’s loss 134-133 overtime loss to the Grizzlies. Irving racked up 37 points, seven rebounds, seven assists, and two steals and is now averaging 37.7 points per game this season, second-most in the league behind Atlanta Hawks guard Trae Young.
On opening night, Irving joined Micahel Jordan, Allen Iverson, and Wilt Chamberlain, as the only players to scored 50 points with no turnovers in NBA history. Kyrie dropped 50 with eight rebounds, seven assists, and zero turnovers in the 127-126 overtime loss to the Minnesota Timberwolves.
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