Kyrie Irving ready to give up 'hero ball' as Nets pursue NBA title: 'it’s about how great the team is'
Kyrie Irving looks to the right, grinning
If you've seen Brooklyn's season opener on Tuesday, your expectations for the nets are probably sky high.
Kevin Durant and Kyrie Irving were dominant and the rest of the nets filled almost seamlessly with a 26 point win.
Irving didn't want to make bold proclamations about the nets after opening night, but he wasn't shy about explaining Brooklyn's ultimate goal either.
"We're going to enjoy this regular season game to game. But we ultimately know what the goal is after these 72 games - and that's 16 wins," he said, referring to the number of postseason wins required to win a title.
If it's healthy, there's no reason to believe that Steve Nash's club isn't well-positioned to make it to an NBA final.
The networks have two of the best players in the league and are remarkable in depth. Sure, there are questions about health, defense, and Nash's lack of experience. But if their performance on Tuesday against a subpar Warriors team was any indication, that Nets team will win many games this season.
About an hour into the end of the game, Irving provided further evidence that - if health permits - the nets are about to enter a dominant season.
At this point in his career, the 10-year-old veteran was talking about avoiding "Hero Ball" and following individual numbers.
"It's been a long way to come here and master the craft and learn that it's not just about hero basketball, it's about how great the team is," said Irving. I think I've gotten into just playing hero basketball a few times in my career. Where team success will really determine how great you are as an individual and how great you play your role. To be here in this present moment, I enjoy it and I accept it. "
Irving was asked if there was a moment that changed his mindset.
"I think it's just the right time, the right situation, the right environment," he said after his first regular season game with Durant in Brooklyn. “To explain that, as a young player, you think it's great to get a number of points, get a number of things done, and receive individual awards.
And I was definitely after these things. Now I really don't care about those individual awards or goals. I really don't mind. I know that I'm culturally validated and that's all that matters. I don't need an NBA. I don't need an MVP, I just want a championship with a great team where I can look back on history and say we did it our way and had fun. "
Some questions from analysts and fans about this Nets team had to do with the consistency between Irving / Durant and the rest of the Nets. Some of the questions started from the idea that Irving needed the ball in his hand - or had to score at a certain level - for the entire Nets ecosystem to run well.
But if, as he said Tuesday, Irving isn't concerned about individual numbers / awards and has prioritized team success over everything else, that's a good sign for Brooklyn.
The only caveat on the Nets - and several other teams around the NBA - is this: what will happen to James Harden in Houston?
The Nets, Sixers, and other teams will be linked with possible trades for Harden until the Superstar is dealt with. Obviously, when Brooklyn acquires Harden, the team's entire complexion changes.
When Philadelphia acquires Harden, the look of one of the teams battling Brooklyn for a trip to the finals will change.
Before the training camp began, sources confirmed that the missiles were ready to deal with all of the awkward situations involved in keeping Harden and Russell Westbrook on the list. ESPN reported for the first time about the thinking of the missiles at the time.
Westbrook has since been brought to Washington. Harden and all the uncomfortable elements that come with an angry star are still in Houston. The missiles don't have a hard time limit for a harden trade. He is under contract for the next three seasons. But some Rockets folks said during the preseason that they didn't expect Harden to be in town for much longer, suggesting that Harden's efforts to force his way out of Houston were working. Therefore, the Harden situation must continue to be monitored in the current 2020-21 season.
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