There is a tremendously fresh buzz around the Brooklyn Nets to start the 2020-21 season. Kevin Durant and Kyrie Irving are at the forefront of the bubbling excitement, especially after a convincing season-opener win. The situation has quickly pushed Irving to make a massive change.
Nets showcase promising potential in season opener
Following months of anticipation, the Brooklyn Nets star duo of Kevin Durant and Kyrie Irving made their official debut.
The two dynamic stars guided the Nets to a comfortable season opener 125-99 win over the Golden State Warriors. Durant played with much ease and fluidity offensively, scoring 22 points on 7-of-16 shooting while draining all seven free throw attempts in 25 minutes played.
Meanwhile, Irving balanced the scoring out with a game-high 26 points on an efficient 10-of-16 shooting from the floor, including nailing four 3-pointers. Brooklyn maintained control of the contest throughout as they carried a healthy double-digit lead into the half.
The Nets kept that margin wide in the second that led to short nights for their two stars, with no player taking the floor for more than 25 minutes. The Warriors are not the team of old outside of star guard Stephen Curry as they struggled to keep pace.
The quality of the opponent may not have been tremendous, but the short time on the floor together with Durant has pushed Irving to a quick realization.
Kyrie Irving wants to move on from “Hero Ball”
Since the Nets convened for training camp to start December, Kyrie Irving continues to work through his first real experience taking the floor alongside Kevin Durant.
The brief time together has quickly shifted Irving’s mindset to take a different approach to the game. Following Tuesday’s contest, the 28-year-old voiced that he will ditch the “Hero Ball” mentality. (H/T New York Post)
“It’s been a long journey to get here and to be able to master this craft and to learn that it’s not just about ‘hero’ basketball. It’s about how great the team is,” Irving said. “I got caught up in that in my career a few times, just trying to play ‘hero’ basketball, where the team success is really going to dictate how great you are as an individual and how great you play a role.
“At this moment, I’m enjoying that, and I’m embracing it, not really doing too much talking. It’s just about the actions. Let’s go out there and throw the ball in the air, and see who’s the best of the best.”
Through many stages of his career, Irving has struggled with his heavy reliance on that concept. His actions in that regard significantly contributed to pushing him away from his teammates with the Boston Celtics.
These comments show a sign of maturity and responsibility with his role in Brooklyn. Irving wants to make the most out of the promising pairing alongside Durant.
Patience will be key
The Nets are off to a promising start after a convincing season-opener win over the Warriors.
However, there will be plenty of challenges ahead if they hope to become a title-contending team in the Eastern Conference. The Milwaukee Bucks, Miami Heat, Boston Celtics, and Toronto Raptors will all pose formidable challenges.
The Nets will have their adjustment period throughout the early goings of the season as Irving and Durant further build on-court chemistry. Brooklyn will also have to exercise much patience in bringing the former league MVP along at his own pace. He’s 18 months removed from suffering a torn Achilles tendon.
The true testament of the team will come with working through those difficult stretches ahead. Irving will play a massive part in that equation as he works to play off Durant to push the franchise forward into possible championship contention.