Will Kyrie Irving’s Return Benefit or Hurt The Nets?

Will Kyrie Irving’s Return Benefit or Hurt The Nets?

With the recent news of Kyrie Irving making a part-time return to the NBA, what will this mean for the Nets? To go into deeper detail about the circumstances for his return, Irving will only be playing away games where he’s eligible to play. But, how can this affect the Nets?
On Sunday, Kyrie Irving made 10 of his 11 shots in his return to the Nets. Credit…Kathy Willens/Associated Press
The positives of this situation are that opposing teams have to gameplan for James Harden, Patty Mills, and Kyrie Irving in the one spot, which can complicate things. Another positive is that the nets are currently the second seed without him, and now with him, there’s a strong possibility that they can retake the first seed. To add to my last point, Irving’s overall impact and presence can now take less pressure from Harden and Kevin Durant, the team-leading scorers. With the Nets star trio back and healthy, this can still be the best team in the east and possibly the league. Lastly, since he can practice, he can help look at the scout team during home practices.
However, there are negative possibilities in his return, and one of them is chemistry issues. Irving’s last recorded game was during last year’s playoff run against the Bucks in game 4 in the Eastern semi-finals. So it’s been roughly seven months since being with the team, which can cause a few issues, especially since they’ve signed and lost people since then. He hasn’t played with a team and has only been doing private practices on his own, so going from being acclimated to only yourself to playing with a team is a significant change. A second issue is his availability. Since he’s only available for away games, this can cause personnel problems. For example, if Patty Mills got injured before a home game, the Nets would have to put Harden back at the one and bring someone up from the bench and or sign out of free agency to fill back in that spot. Finally, a major problem I can see possibly coming is in the playoffs. When the postseason comes around, will Irving’s availability be the same, and will that become an issue for the organization? Especially with the rampant Omicron variant, there’s a slight chance Irving’s part-time availability with the team can get shut down.

At the end of the day, these are all speculations on what can happen soon as he returns to play on January 5th.

What Could Go Wrong?

What Could Go Wrong?

With the fourth-best record in the NBA, the Nets sit at the top of the eastern conference at 14-6. With KD averaging almost 30 points per game, the Nets look nearly unstoppable. Unstoppable may be an overstatement with the number of problems that can hurt them in the long run as the season progresses.
One of the main problems on the Nets is getting rebounds. They’re currently 22nd in the league for total rebounds and in dead last for offensive rebounds. Running a small ball lineup, the Net’s two tallest players on the court is Kevin Durant and Blake Griffin. Out of those two, you’d probably expect one of them to lead their team in rebounds. But, trust me, it’s not. The current team leader in rebounds is James Harden averaging 7.9 rebounds a game. He averaged the most rebounds on the team ahead of Deandre Jordan last season, averaging 8.5 rebounds a game and staying on track from the previous season against the Bucks during the playoffs. They had a total of 47 offensive rebounds, 256 defensive rebounds, which adds up to about 303 total rebounds. In comparison, the Bucks had 74 offensive rebounds, 260 defensive rebounds, and 334 rebounds overall.
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This team is also struggling on the defensive end, being 27th in steals and 10th in blocks. Though it’s still early in the season, the Nets are still one of the league’s worst defensive teams. It’s bad enough that they dropped three spots since last year in the block average. The Nets this year average 6.9 steals per game and 5.3 blocks per game. The team’s current steal leader is Bruce Brown, with 1.4 steals per game. What makes things worse is that LaMarcus Aldridge, who just came out of retirement who had to retire mid-season last year because of health reasons, is now their block leader with 1.1 blocks per game, which is barely better than their block leader in the previous year, Kevin Durant, with 1.3 blocks per game. You know a team is terrible at defense when not only are their defensive stats one of the worst in the league, a bench player is one of the defensive stat leaders on the team, but also when you’re 15th in the league for personal fouls and 10th for the allowing the most points scored.
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Yes, this team is good, but their flaws are apparent, and it will hurt them again when the postseason comes around. Although the Nets are good on offense, it’s not by much being 11th in the league for scoring despite their record. It’s still early in the season, but that’s not an excuse for being poor in certain areas.
Nowhere to Go But Up

Nowhere to Go But Up

With a 2-6 record, the New York Jets have one of the worst records in the AFC conference. However, there is some potential, and not all is lost. If anything, Jets fans should see this more like a light at the end of the tunnel rather than the Jets being the Jets.
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At the beginning of the season, Carl Lawson suffered a ruptured Achilles, resulting in the Jets signing Shaq Lawson, who has yet to have a sack. With Carl Lawson out, that was a significant blow to Robert Salah’s defense because he had big plans for him before the season officially started. Overall the Jets have been riddled with injuries, and a major one is Offensive Tackle Mekhi Becton and Quarterback Zach Wilson.
Mekhi Becton, New York Jets, Getty Images
On a more positive outlook, the Jet’s two wins were against two playoff teams, and in both games, the Jets played terrifically. Against the Titans, Zach Wilson threw for 297 yards with two touchdowns and one interception. Corey Davis had 111 receiving yards and a touchdown averaging about 27.9 yards per reception.

What makes things better is that against the Bengals, Mike White threw for 405 yards and three touchdowns. So not only does New York have a good defense, but they also have a promising offense with a backup quarterback with a lot of potential.

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I know this season is a rough ride, but there’s a light at the end of the tunnel, and the Jet’s time for their shine is coming soon.
The Best In The NFL?

The Best In The NFL?

After beating the San Francisco 49ers 17-10 and the Huston Texans 31-5, the Arizona Cardinalsare still undefeated with a 7-0 record. Question is how long will they stay undefeated?
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During the game against the 49ers, with both tight end and center Rodney Hudson and Maxx Williams leaving the game, this offense is slowly starting to become crippled at the line as per usual. However with the sudden addition of tight end Zach Ertz the Cards can hopefully remain dominant offensively as they continue their undefeated streak. Hudson’s absence is huge for the Cardinals because arguably the best lineman on that team. Although the line allowed 2 sacks against the niners, this doesn’t excuse the fact that Murray was not only pressured but also now hurt because of the pressure. Not to mention his ability to extend plays bailed this line out a lot.
To add more salt in the wound, this team also didn’t have their best performance in the rushing game either rushing for 94 yards. The Cardinals however made up for it in the passing game because they threw up an outstanding 210 passing yards with a 71% passing percentage.
Sep 19, 2021; Glendale, Arizona, USA; Arizona Cardinals quarterback Kyler Murray (1) celebrates a touchdown against the Minnesota Vikings during the first half at State Farm Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Joe Camporeale-USA TODAY Sports
Straying away from the negative, the Cardinals have been playing the best football across the league and honestly is the best team in the NFC conference. They made a mockery of the Los Angeles Rams who have a top 5 defense in the league. Before that, in week 1 they blew out the Tennessee Titans 38-13, and the Titans are supposed to be dangerous this year with the addition of Julio Jones.

Team stats cannot speak for this team, They’re 6th in the league for passing yards and 8th for rushing. Yet they’re 2nd in the NFL for rushing touchdowns and on the downside, 10th for receiving touchdowns. Stats alone cannot speak for them because at the end of the day, the Arizona Cardinals are the only undefeated team in the NFL.

Struggles in The Bay

Struggles in The Bay

Photo by Michael Zagaris/San Francisco 49ers/Getty Images
After losing 21-28 against the Seattle Seahawks, the San Francisco 49ers fall to 2-2, making them the 4th seed in the NFC West.

However, games aren’t the only thing they’re losing; with Josh Norman, Robbie Gould, Raheem Mostert, Jimmy Garapolo, among others on the injury reserve list, this is familiar territory for 49er fans who have witnessed not only the dreaded 2018-2019 but also the 2020-2021 season. Spoiler alert, they both ended badly because of injuries, and this season isn’t looking any better.

Screen Shot pulled from https://www.49ers.com/team/injury-report/
On top of Injuries, this team is struggling to close out games and score points. We saw a bit of this in week one, where the niner’s defense allowed 16 points despite putting in the second team DBs. Not to mention the 49ers only put up a measly 10 points to the Lion’s 23 points in the second half. In week two against the Eagles, the Niners put on the worst performance of this season, only scoring 7 in the first half and 10 in the second. Then in week three against the Packers, the Niner’s offense looked extremely flat again, leaving the defense tired and barely able to stop the Packers explosive offense. Although the Niner’s almost pulled off a remarkable comeback, terrible time management and defensive playcalling let this team’s performance down. Lastly, in week four against the Seahawks, in the first quarter, the 49er’s defense looked stunning, completely shutting down Seattle’s offense. This only lasted one quarter. After the offense scored 7 points in the first half due to mistakes and missed PAT attempts San Francisco’s offense began to struggle a lot even though they scored 14 in the second half, primarily because of the Seahawks subbing in their second team.
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This team has a lot of potential; however, both head coach Kyle Shannahan and defensive coordinator Demeco Ryans need to step up their playing calling and call better plays. Yes, it’s easy to blame coaches for terrible team performances, but in this case, it’s necessary. On offense, Shannahan is playing too passive and doesn’t seem like he trusts his offense to pull off plays that he has stored deep in his brain. Defensively, Ryans seem scared to throw blitzes at teams which is also the Niner’s greatest downfall against the packers to where they should’ve been blitzing a lot more since Aaron Rodgers isn’t the best scrambler.

In darkness, there is light; remember when I said there was potential? Well, the potential is in the youth, which you may ask? Trey Lance, Deebo Samuel, Trey Sermon, Brandon Aiyuk. The two main takeaways from these four are Trey Lance and Deebo Samuel. Analysts all over can all agree that the ceiling for Lance is extremely high, and it’s beginning to show. With three passing and one rushing touchdown, Lance has a chance this Sunday to prove how good he is against the Arizona Cardinals.

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Now on to Deebo Samuel; he’s currently leading the league in receiving yards and almost has the most receiving touchdowns. ESPN even has him projecting to have his first 1000 reception yard year. If he can stay healthy and consistent, Samuel can shape up to be a top 10 receiver and have his breakout year this year. Some call him a gadget receiver, but this is his year to prove the doubters wrong.