Kyrie Irving and Klay Thompson's NBA returns questions about continuity

This is the story of two returns. Kyrie Irving is back with the Nets – well, part-time at least – after spending the season on the side...

This is the story of two returns.

Kyrie Irving is back with the Nets – well, part-time at least – after spending the season on the sidelines for reasons of his own: the stubborn refusal of a Covid-19 vaccination.

Klay thompson will suit for Golden State Warriors Sunday after 30 months in which unlikely injuries kept him away from basketball. Thirty months, two and a half seasons, of hard and sometimes heartbreaking rehabilitation.

Thompson’s return gives us the opportunity to once again marvel at one of the most symbiotic connections in sports. From 2012 until his first injury in 2019, Thompson and Stephen Curry, his close friend and backcourt mate, offered constant lessons of combined greatness: ballet-like cutting and passing, orbital jumpers from every angle – the whole thing. performed in remarkable tandem.

We can finally see Klay and Steph Part II.

Thompson’s return raises questions, but they’re as simple and straightforward as his 3 withdrawal points. Will he return to the All-Star form that helped Golden State win three NBA titles? And if so, how long will it take?

Irving’s return is a whole different matter. His return is a gamble. First, it sends a questionable message about personal responsibility during a public crisis. It also leaves the Nets in awe. The team are on the cusp of realizing their important dreams, even though they now operate under the shadow of Irving’s most recent act: here one game, gone next.

Few basketball players have been as elusive as Irving when he slips between opposing teams and cuts the court – a fact underscored by Irving’s return to the Nets on Wednesday, when he scored 22 points and assisted to bring the team back from a 19- points deficit to defeat the Indiana Pacers, 129-121.

Irving is just as difficult to pin down hardwood. There might not be an NBA playmaker so fine to involve his teammates in precise passing. But he also has a reputation for being an erratic personality who can just as easily implode teams. (See: Boston Celtics; Cleveland Cavaliers.)

Irving thinks the earth is flat? It was once a fun show that he couldn’t quite explain in a way that made sense.

His refusal to be vaccinated during a pandemic that has killed at least 5 million worldwide and over 830,000 Americans, with most of the hardest-hit communities being the Black and brown quarters that Irving is proud to help? It’s a confusing parody.

What a difference three months makes in this troubled world. In October, Nets officials were adamant they would not allow Irving on their team as long as he refused to comply with New York City mandates requiring workers at sites as large as the Barclays. Center and Madison Square Garden get vaccinated against the virus.

Why bother if Irving could only play when the team was on the road?

“Every member of our organization needs to pull in the same direction,” said CEO Sean Marks.

Of course, the Nets embossed. Like almost every NBA team, they trotted patchwork rosters filled with minor league substitutes because Covid-19 protocols sidelined so many regulars. Never mind that this week all players kicked out of the squad due to positive coronavirus tests had returned – the Nets had cover to turn the tide on Irving.

Brooklyn has made a business decision, changing its stated principles, even as New York City finds itself swamped by another wave fueled by another coronavirus variant of this scourge. Irving is back, adding to the bottom line that really matters in the sport: winning and the exhilarating financial rewards that come with it.

The Nets, already equipped with Kevin Durant and James Harden, are chasing a championship and the return of Irving does not bring questions of wonder and potential, but of logistics.

Does Kyrie Irving give the Nets the best chance of winning a championship if they can’t play at home, Manhattan against the Crosstown Knicks or Toronto against rival Raptors because vaccination is a prerequisite to enter? in Canada?

NBA Championship basketball thrives on a deep continuity. It requires a full roster of teammates who know the slightest trend on the pitch. It flows with the timing and rhythm of a great Miles Davis quintet. Are the Nets better at getting Irving? Or will bringing him in and out of roster throughout the regular season and playoffs stop them from getting into that kind of winning groove?

We haven’t seen a better NBA tandem, no better groove than Curry and Thompson clashing before Thompson’s initial injury. Even when the team had Durant, the most powerful basketball force on the planet, the two longtime guards were the beating heart of the Warriors. (Helped, we know, by Draymond Green.)

This season Golden State has been superb, perched atop the league table again with Curry playing at the league’s MVP level. But nothing will look perfect until Thompson is back in the mix.

His return will come on Sunday when the Warriors face the Cleveland Cavaliers in San Francisco. It will be 941 days since he tore the anterior cruciate ligament in his left knee in the 2019 NBA Finals, and 417 days since he tore his right Achilles tendon while training.

Meanwhile, the NBA has been deprived of one of its smoothest shooters and best defenders, a player popular enough to leave fans and most of the league mesmerized by even the little ones. viral video clips showing him on the mend. There’s Thompson with his Bulldog Rocco, cruising in a cool convertible. Or captain of his 37-foot fishing boat on San Francisco Bay, gushing back: “I have chills when I think of coming back, I can’t wait!”

Or train with the Warriors development team, hitting a dart-like 3 point game winner.

There is perhaps no more emotional NBA moment this year than when a sad Thompson remained on the bench in formal attire after a home win over the Portland Trail Blazers, a towel draped over his head as he sympathized with all that was missing.

“Two years and more is a long time,” Curry said in an interview in November, speaking about his partner’s return to the backcourt. Curry said he thought this season would be the hardest part of Thompson’s trip, as he trained with the team and was so close to an official comeback.

“We’re talking weeks instead of months now,” Curry added.

And now we are talking about days.

Thompson’s return will spark a lot of scrutiny, but that won’t have to do with the fact that he has done everything he can to protect himself and others from the virus. It will be basketball. Can he get back in shape, and which league team can stop the Warriors if he does?

The main enemy of the Warriors may well be Brooklyn. To be Golden State’s spoiler, or to win another Western Conference team’s title, he’ll have to shoot all cylinders. It will take continuity, timing and confidence that can only come from the big three of the Nets playing together full time.

Don’t count on it.

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Newsrust - US Top News: Kyrie Irving and Klay Thompson's NBA returns questions about continuity
Kyrie Irving and Klay Thompson's NBA returns questions about continuity
Newsrust - US Top News
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