With former Brooklyn Nets star Kyrie Irving now a member of the Dallas Mavericks, some are left to wonder if it is a fit that will work, pairing him alongside another ball-dominant player in Luka Doncic.
However, two-time NBA champion Kenny Smith believes playing with the Mavericks will be easier for Kyrie because of his stint on the Cleveland Cavaliers with his former co-star LeBron James.
“I think it’s easier for Kyrie because he played with LeBron [James]. No one is more ball dominant at times than LeBron James, and this guy was able to flourish and win championships with him, so that’s not going to change for him,” Smith told Brandon “Scoop B” Robinson of Bally Sports during NBA All-Star Weekend.
“I think it will be a pleasant surprise for Luka [Doncic] to realize at the end of the game, ‘you know what? I don’t have to ice tonight, and I don’t feel as tired tonight’ he’s going to have some different momentum that he’s never had before.”
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Smith: Mavs Will Have to Change ‘Whole Offense’ for Kyrie Irving
Irving can play ball and has been an All-Star on every team he has played on, so don’t expect his numbers to go south just because he switched uniforms. He has the skill level to conform to whatever teammates are around him.
But Smith says one difficulty teams such as the Mavericks and the Phoenix Suns will face won’t come from acclimating the stars they added at the deadline. The hard part will be getting the players around them to adjust.
“The difference when a Kyrie Irving comes to your team, a Kevin Durant comes to your team, it’s different from a different player coming. Because when one player comes, he’s got to learn the offense, he’s got to learn his teammates,” Smith added.
“When they come, we got to change our whole offense, we got Kevin Durant, we’ve got Kyrie Irving, we’re changing, so everyone has to learn something different. That takes a little [more] time than one guy coming in and changing things.”
Spencer Dinwiddie Sounds off on Second Nets Stint
As part of the trade that sent Kyrie to the Mavericks, the Nets were able to reunite with a familiar face. That face is shooting guard Spencer Dinwiddie. Dinwiddie spent time in Brooklyn for five seasons before being sent to the Washington Wizards in a sign and trade as an unrestricted free agent in 2021.
Things were different the last time Dinwiddie was in Brooklyn. Before, he was trying to climb the ranks in the NBA. In his second stint, Dinwiddie has affirmed himself as a household name and will naturally take on a leadership role.
“I think being comfortable here, knowing people, knowing this stuff. Also having the ball in my hands, being a PG, and trying to be connected to Coach, it’s probably that, too,” Dinwiddie said of his role on the Nets to Brian Lewis of the New York Post.
“And just I think very quickly guys will see that I’m out there just trying to win the game. Whether I shoot it, whether I pass it, whether I turn it over, I’m not hunting stats or trying to do something else. … Gaining the trust of the guys fairly quickly — and obviously, there’s still a lot of building to go with that — but I think that’s kind of what allows me to do it.”