Losers of 8 in a row, the Brooklyn Nets have tumbled down the Eastern Conference standings and face the possibility of a play-in fight if their slide continues.
To make matters even worse, the Nets will have to play most of their remaining games without Kyrie Irving, whose unvaccinated status has disqualified him from suiting up in Brooklyn.
With only 10 of the remaining 29 games taking place on the road, it means Uncle Drew will only be available for 35% of their schedule. In the playoffs, Irving will only be available for a maximum of 4 games every series.
For a Nets team on the brink of collapse, Irving's part-time status could be what ends their season for good. And while Kyrie seemed hopeful for something to change, he was not apologetic about his decision to avoid the vaccine.
“I’m keeping a positive mindset that anything can happen in the next few days or the next week. Just crossing my fingers that something can come up before All-Star break or after.”
As expected, Kyrie's role in Brooklyn's struggles has garnered significant backlash from the community. Calls for him to leave the franchise are louder than they've ever been.
“If you’re on my team and you can’t play home games, I don’t want you around," said Shaquille O'Neal. "Like, we have a chance to win and if you ain’t on the program, go somewhere else, period.”
There was an ongoing debate within the Nets franchise about whether or not to allow Kyrie to play at all. Initially, they decided against allowing him part-time participation. Eventually, however, their stance changed and Irving was allowed to suit up for road games.
Through 53 games so far, Kyrie has played just 12 games and is averaging 23.2 points, 5.3 assists, and 4.8 rebounds per game on 45.6% shooting.