Sports News Without Fear, Favor or Compromise
Sports News Without Fear, Favor or Compromise

Kyrie Irving is present and accounted for and the Brooklyn Nets’ MVP this season

Kyrie Irving
Kyrie Irving
Photo: AP

For sure, nobody wants to hear it.

So many are caught up on the time he’s not been out there to truly recognize what he’s done when he’s played this season.

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But it’s time to recognize that Kyrie Irving is the MVP of the Brooklyn Nets.

Get out of your feelings and start looking at the facts.

Forget that Kyrie once said the Earth is flat. Or the two different times this season, he’s taken a sabbatical.

None of it matters. Irving is the reason the Nets passed their latest test against the tough Phoenix Suns on Sunday.

In the Nets’ runaway 128-119 victory in Brooklyn, Irving had 34 points on 10-for-19 shooting, including 5-for-7 from three-point land and knocked down all nine of his free throws.

Irving — who is averaging 27.1 points and is 11th in PER (Player Efficiency Rating) — is the biggest reason why the Nets (41-20) lead the Eastern Conference over the Philadelphia 76ers by 1.5 games.

By far, this is the best season Irving has put together in the NBA, shooting over 50 percent from the floor for the season — first time ever — and is hitting free throws at a 92 percent clip.

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But the only thing people want to talk about are his wacky comments and the fact that he needed to take time away for personal reasons.

If the Nets haven’t balked at those reasons, neither should we. When he comes back to the team, Irving is all business.

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And we get it. Kyrie is on a team filled with elite scorers, the likes of which we’ve ever seen on the same squad.

We saw some of that firepower in the win over the Suns. Kevin Durant, coming off the bench after that thigh bruise injury, had 33 points in 28 minutes.

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Without question, Durant is the best player on the team. And we just assumed he would be leading the way. But he’s been hurt most of the season.

Then James Harden showed up and showed out. He took over the point guard spot and was balling like few had ever seen him do before. Harden, looking like a totally different player from his Houston chucking threes days, was so dynamic that he was honestly in the conversation for league MVP. Then, he got hurt. The Nets didn’t crash or burn either time injuries came knocking. And it’s for one reason and one reason only: Irving.

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He deserves a ton of credit for keeping the Nets righted.

Irving was supposed to be the point guard. He gave the rock to Harden with no fuss or fight and Harden ran with it.

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It didn’t feel weird for Kyrie to give up his handle. More importantly, his change of positions didn’t upset his ability to be one of the best finishers at the rim this league has seen. It simply freed him to be the dynamic scorer we always knew he was. Most nights this season, Irving is box office, must-see TV. In eight games this season, Kyrie has scored 37 or more.

Despite as well as he has played, the only thing people seem to want to focus on are his missing days from work. Irving has missed 17 of the Nets’ 61 Games thus far.

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Some have simply been for rest. Others have come under question.

In March, Irving missed three games for a family matter. In January, he missed seven games.

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Remember, Kyrie is the same dude who played just 11 games in college at Duke and wound up still being the No. 1 pick in the 2011 NBA draft.

Sure, it would be great if Irving could play every game this season. But there’s one thing for sure, when he’s out on the court, nobody plays harder and wants to win like he does.

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The Nets shouldn’t be where they are — at the top spot in the conference. There have been too many injuries and lineup changes. But when it comes to the Nets’ Big 3, Irving has been there the most. It’s a testament to his leadership and ability.

It’s easy to want to discount a guy because he’s different, walking to his own beat.

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But Irving has proven that it’s a winning beat. Listen up.