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Kyrie Irving is again, and this is why historical past tells us that is really dangerous information for the Brooklyn Nets

Kyrie Irving has returned from suspension. Ben Simmons has mustered three consecutive video games that echo his previous excellence. And Kevin Durant continues to be Kevin Durant, a transcendent scoring machine averaging greater than 30 factors per sport who’s lastly freed from the pinnacle coach he tried to power out over the summer time.

Throw within the probability to beat a battered Philadelphia 76ers group Tuesday evening — and choose up its third straight win for the primary time this season — and good vibes are emanating from the Brooklyn Nets.

Do not fall for any of it. This Nets group has nothing to supply however disappointment and drama.

Positive, the momentary sense of positivity, a Brooklyn Nets specialty, will certainly unfold if Simmons has one other wonderful outing in his return to Philly. Or if Irving, having performed solely 26 minutes after coming back from an eight-game suspension for selling an antisemetic video, has a breakout efficiency.

Do not get sucked in.

The phantasm could also be stronger, however the farce stays the identical: This talent-laden group is a timebomb — not a title contender. They’re all drama and no depth. They’re the flicker with no actual probability on the bling.

Positive, as in all issues in sports activities, they may pull an upset. The Durant-Irving-Simmons trifecta would freeze, in opposition to all odds and historical past, and see a regular-season parade of victories that offers technique to a playoff run worthy of all of the hype that is been churning in Brooklyn since Kyrie and KD teamed up.

However historical past, widespread sense and a slew of NBA leagues sources say what’s extra widespread is extra of the identical: Drama, the contender okey-dokey, and an inevitable grotesque meltdown that reminds us who they have been all alongside.

Star energy is a should for a championship run, however chemistry is the key sauce that has to accompany it. That is one of many causes the Golden State Warriors, yr after yr, have dominated, with or with out Kevin Durant: That locker room is filled with actual leaders, and actual perception, and actual togetherness — or no less than it was till Draymond Inexperienced punched teammate Jordan Poole within the face earlier this season.

This latest Los Angeles Lakers group tells the opposite facet of the coin — expertise with out togetherness can flip into recrimination with out hope.

However LeBron James, Russell Westbrook and Anthony Davis are a TED Speak on camaraderie and chemistry in comparison with this Nets squad.

Begin with Irving, whose basketball presence in Brooklyn so far has fallen approach in need of expectations. Irving is massively proficient within the excessive. However outdoors of enjoying with LeBron in LeBron’s prime — a significant asterisk — Irving has been a perennial detrimental for nearly each single group he is been on. Actually.

This season, the Brooklyn Nets are 3-6 with their star level guard — and 5-3 with out him.

It could sound like a statistical anomaly pulled from a stupidly small pattern dimension, however dig slightly deeper. Take a look at the details, and the dearth of influence he is had in his time away from LeBron.

Within the six seasons, together with this one, since Kyrie Irving pressured his approach out of the Cleveland Cavaliers, his group has been higher by profitable proportion with him on the ground versus with out him in solely a single season.


And that was 5 years in the past, in his first season in Boston.

The cold-hard comps on Kyrie’s groups within the common season with him versus with out him are putting:

So this is the scorecard wanting again on the earlier 5 seasons: He improved his group as soon as. There was one other, by profitable proportion, that was a useless warmth. After which there have been three during which he was an albatross to success.

The dangerous occasions have been extra widespread of late. Within the three of the final 4 seasons, Kyrie’s presence on the ground turned his group right into a sub-.500 squad. That is a pattern dimension of 83 video games over three seasons — mainly a whole common season — during which Kyrie turns group right into a loser.

So, no, Kyrie’s drama, greatest and ugliest personified by the newest self-inflicted saga, is not the price of his greatness. It is perception into the associated fee his supposed-greatness inflicts on his groups.

And simply Kyrie.

Take Simmons, who — and there’s no technique to put this kindly — instills the least quantity of confidence come huge moments of any participant maybe in NBA historical past. The passed-up dunk within the playoffs, and his then-head coach Doc Rivers throwing him beneath the bus afterward, might effectively have damaged him.

Sure, he is performed effectively the previous few video games, and we must always all hope he thrives and proves doubters like me unsuitable. No participant deserves to have a profession ruined by no matter mixture of the bodily and psychological accidents which have led him so far. However life is not truthful, as others like Markelle Fultz can attest.

If an enormous a part of your plan for NBA success is counting on Ben Simmons — in huge video games no much less, when the strain ratchets up and his reminiscences and frailties should really feel 1,000 occasions bigger — that plan is in huge bother.

The particular person requested to shepard this feast of fretfulness is Jacque Vaughn, who has three issues working in opposition to him: His profession document of 71-165. He is by no means received greater than 23 video games in a single season. And the very fact he was clearly Durant’s accepted, second-choice candidate after the Nets backed away from hiring the suspended Boston Celtics head coach Ime Udoka.

That is not a shot at Vaughn. A Nobel Peace Prize winner would possibly battle to deliver this group collectively. However it’s exhausting to see a second-choice coach clearly endorsed by a single celebrity discovering the key to this disturbing cocktail of grievances, stress and letdowns.

Into all of this strain steps Durant, whose skills are excessive even by historic requirements. However within the NBA we are inclined to stare at stars, get blinded by what we see in them and have bother specializing in the main points that matter.

As with this Nets group as a complete, Durant is an enormous expertise who doesn’t have a observe document — outdoors of working with the loaded Warriors — of profitable NBA championships. It is exhausting to see via his greatness, however Durant the star has shone so brightly we have missed his lack of a resume away from Stephen Curry & Co., a LeBron-like winner.

If final yr’s Golden State Warriors run did not persuade folks of this, it is exhausting to see what is going to, however: Curry was at all times the very best and most vital participant on these Warriors groups. That at all times made KD the second-best participant on the 2 championship groups on which KD performed.

You understand what disproves that? Successful with out Curry, simply as Curry profitable with out Durant proved his worth as a champion, an NBA Finals MVP, and an all-time nice capable of carry a group all the best way.

Durant has by no means performed that. And with this Nets group — with Kyrie Irving as a teammate, with Ben Simmons as a key piece who’ll be known as upon in pressure-packed moments — he by no means will.

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