A case can be made that Brooklyn Nets point guard Kyrie Irving, is perhaps a top-five point guard in the NBA. In this incredibly young season, Irving is averaging 26 points, five rebounds, and five assists per game. Even with all Irving’s talent, Brooklyn’s starting point guard is starting to feel the effects of a gaping hole that has been left in the team’s roster.
Nets Are Already Feeling Dinwiddie’s Absence
Last week, the Nets announced that their starting shooting guard Spencer Dinwiddie would be out for the rest of the season with a partially torn ACL. The team knew that the loss of one of their rising stars would make their chase for the franchise’s first NBA title that much more difficult. After two games without the services of Brooklyn’s starting shooting guard, Kyrie is already feeling the effects of Dinwiddie’s absence.
“Losing Spencer was a big, big blow for us,” Irving said to reporters via a Zoom call on Thursday. “Huge blow. Even after the game, just realizing that a lot of the ball-handling duties, a lot of things that I was relying on to have Spence out there in the lineup, we don’t necessarily have for a while.”
Kyrie had one of the roughest outings of his short Nets career against the Atlanta Hawks on Friday. While Kyrie did have a double-double with 11 rebounds and 18 points, it took him 21 shots to get there as he was only 6-21 from the field.
“We obviously wish him well as a team and we want him to get healthy to be ready for whatever comes next in this journey. Just little things like that we’re going to miss in Spence. Now, we have to get another group of guys together in terms of finding that synergy to be able to carry on throughout the rest of the games.”
Nets Have To Face The Reality Of Life Without Dinwiddie
Dinwiddie has increased his point per game average every year since he entered the league in 2015. The Nets were expecting Dinwiddie to take the next leap of his career this year, perhaps even an All-Star. “It’s a big blow for us to lose Spence. That’s a huge, huge blow for us. I feel it, and I know other guys feel it, as well,” Kyrie told reporters. “Everyone likes to say this phrase ‘Next Man Up Mentality,’ but it’s hard to do that when we started off kind of the last few months together.”
Dinwiddie’s replacement Timothe Luwawu-Cabarrot has also struggled in his first two starts, following up a 1-5 shooting performance with a disappointing 1-7 outing in the loss to the Hawks. “We’ve played together a certain type of style, and then we have one of our pieces go down,” Irving told reporters on Thursday. “It’s the tale of the business. Guys get hurt all the time. We have to figure out some things that work for the group that we put out there.”
While the loss of Spencer Dinwiddie is indeed a major hole to fill for the Nets, Head Coach Steve Nash is not interested in making excuses for his team. While it will take some time for the team to adapt to the loss of Dinwiddie as it pertains to their style of play, the Nets must play better, plain, and simple. “It’s not an excuse,” said Nash. “We didn’t shoot the ball well, but we didn’t do a lot of other things well.”
Sitting at 3-3 in an incredibly young NBA season the Nets will have a chance to redeem themselves on Sunday versus the Washington Wizards.