Thanks to his amazing performances throughout his career when it has mattered, especially during the NBA Finals in 2016, Kyrie Irving has earned himself a reputation of being a clutch playoff performer. That has taken a huge hit this season, with Irving being mostly ineffective as the Boston Celtics dismantled the Brooklyn Nets with extreme efficiency and bounced them from the playoffs in just 4 games.
Since joining the Nets with Kevin Durant in 2019, the Nets have managed to win just one playoff series, and while injuries and such things have come in as factors, that's still a very poor return. There have been shouts from the media for Durant to move on from Kyrie, but it seems like the two will give it at least one more try next season now that Irving has said that he will stay with the Nets.
However, Irving's play in the series against the Celtics while being completely available still raised some question marks. A YouTuber, Heat Check, has pointed out instances where Irving not being fully committed to the cause cost the Nets during the game.
And the lack of effort pointed out in this video is backed up by stats as well, Irving averaged just 21 points per game in this series, shooting less than 45% from the floor, well below what is expected from him. Unsurprisingly, he was called out for it by fans in the comments of this video itself.
"Kyrie is in vacation mode. 29 regular-season games played, and successfully played the minimum playoff games."
"f only KD played with a guard who does a lot off ball movement…"
"Harden physically left, Kyrie mentally left. Super team? It’s really just KD."
"Poetic to see Kyrie's former team out hustle him with team effort as opposed to big star iso."
"Kyrie Irving staying and watching Kevin Durant, he was in vacation mode."
"Since he left Cleveland, Kyrie was never been the same player as he was."
"This is KD’s friend?! Kyrie abandoned his “friend” AGAIN?!"
"That's what you do when your team plays ISO ball. KD basically did the same."
"Kyrie needs to get his head in the game next season."
"The Nets need both their superstars to show up, even Durant wasn't all that good in this series."
The criticism is likely going to keep flowing in for the Nets, it's natural when a team falls this far below expectations. However, both Kyrie Irving and Kevin Durant are bonafide superstars, and that means that they will be raring to go next season to shut up all the slander they are facing right now. If this is what it takes to unlock both of them, the Nets might just look back at this series as a positive in the future.