Kyrie Irving of the Brooklyn Nets is simply one of the most skilled players in the history of basketball. His ability to handle the ball, create his own shot and finish beneath the rim through contact, is second to none. Kyrie is considered one of the most clutch guards in the league. He was averaging nearly 23 points a game on 46% shooting from the field. He went down with an ankle sprain in game 4. This was after he landed on Giannis Antetokounmpo‘s foot while shooting the basketball. The injury occurred with 6 minutes remaining in the second quarter.
Losing Kyrie led to the Milwaukee Bucks picking up momentum in the second half of the series. They won game 4 as well as an improbable game 6 win facing elimination. As both teams now face the pressure of elimination Irving’s injury status and whether he will play in game 7 will remain Brooklyn’s biggest X factor.
Kyrie Irving has not played in the last 3 games of this series. The Milwaukee Bucks dominated and won 2 of those 3 games. Bruce Brown, Mike James, or Landry Shammet are excellent guards off the bench. However, none of them possess Kyrie’s handles or playmaking ability. Additionally, they have not seen much seasonlong experience with the Brooklyn Nets.
This is because Kyrie has played consistently in the majority of the games during the season. This has slowed down the development of the bench players. Injecting a player into a postseason situation and expecting them to perform, while having limited their minutes drastically can prove fatal in the playoffs.
Will Kyrie Irving be on the court for the Brooklyn Nets in game 7?
Kyrie Irving was ruled out of game 6. He did not travel with the team to Milwaukee and chose to stay in Brooklyn and recuperate. However, Kyrie is not expected to play in game 7. He will be a game-time decision by coach Steve Nash. One must not expect to see Kyrie on the court simply because Brooklyn faces elimination. Injuries occur every year.
Compromising the player’s career and longevity in order to potentially succeed in the present is a grim choice that needs to be made. Kyrie is only 29 years old and still has a few years of the best basketball of his career before him. It is no doubt the correct decision is to rest him. This is regardless of whether the Brooklyn Nets win the series.
Additionally, If Kyrie Irving comes back before he is 100% healthy he is likely to compromise his entire playstyle for the rest of the postseason. Even if the Brooklyn Nets advance past the Milwaukee Bucks, they will need Irving for the conference finals and NBA finals as well. If the Brooklyn Nets are unable to win a pivotal game at home, with both James Harden and Kevin Durant perhaps they don’t deserve to make it to the next round and Kyrie should continue rehabilitating his ankle.