Averaging 28.5 points, 5.4 rebounds, 7.2 assists and 1.1 steals per contest, Irving has helped guide the Nets to an exciting beginning to the NBA’s regular season.
Irving is missing his second consecutive game tonight against the Indiana Pacers with a right shoulder impingement. The Nets got a victory in Irving’s absence on Saturday in a 117-111 win over the Chicago Bulls.
“Listen, he’s getting treatment and with our performance staff trying to improve it,” Nets head coach Kenny Atkinson told New York Daily News’ Kristian Winfield.
“Just not available to play tonight. Hasn’t gotten to that point where he’s able to play with it.
“Listen, I know he’s working diligently to get back on the court. I know he wants to be out on the court bad. My hope is that it’s a short-term thing.”
Irving is a native of West Orange New Jersey. He grew up idolizing Jason Kidd. Playing home in the New York metropolitan area is a dream come true for him.
Is there pressure in doing so?
Some have played in their respective regions and have been fairly successful. LeBron James, Irving’s former Cleveland Cavaliers teammate is an Akron, Ohio native. James had two stints with the Cavs and brought a championship to Northeast Ohio in 2016 when the Cavs beat the Steph Curry, Draymond Green, Klay Thompson and Andre Iguodala-led Golden State Warriors.
So about that pressure…I asked retired NBA player, Tim Thomas if there’s pressure in playing at home.
The seventh overall pick in the 1997 NBA Draft, Thomas played 12 NBA seasons for the Philadelphia 76ers, Milwaukee Bucks, Chicago Bulls, New York Knicks, Phoenix Suns, Dallas Mavericks and the Los Angeles Clippers. The Villanova product averaged 11.5 points, 4.1 rebounds and 1.5 assists in 824 games.
Thomas was drafted by the Nets and then traded to the 76ers.
For those keeping score at home: Villanova University is a stones throw from downtown.
A Paterson, New Jersey native, Thomas also played for the neighboring New York Knicks. MSG is literally 20 minutes from his childhood home.
Check out the Q&A below with Thomas about Irving and the pressures of playing at home.
Tim Thomas: Two times with the Knicks. It’s the Knicks baby [laughs] that’s my home team.
Brandon ‘Scoop B’ Robinson: When you look at Kyrie Irving, a Jersey guy like you that’s playing for the home team, how difficult is it someone to play for the home team or you know in that Tri-State area?
Tim Thomas: I mean it’s not difficult. The hardest part for him is coming back home is just being able to tell people “No” on the tickets and just different requests, you know as the season is going on. You know ‘cause I don’t know what they’re gonna do this year, you know but in the future, you know, long runs in the playoffs stuff like that…people are gonna want a lot of attention so I think that’s just the hardest part. Outside of that, I think he’ll be fine. You know, he’s been in so many different situations, won a championship. He’s a vet now. He understands.