Can the Nets Win the Championship Without Kyrie Irving?

| October 15, 2021 12:38 pm PDT

The Nets were set to go into the new NBA season as favorites to win the championship after coming so close to beating Milwaukee in the East last year. But the news that Kyrie Irving will be out for an unspecified amount of time is sure to have some kind of effect on Brooklyn’s chances.

Irving has been ruled ineligible after refusing to be vaccinated against COVID-19. Regulations state that all players – and fans over 12 years of age – in New York City must be vaccinated to enter an NBA arena.

That would theoretically allow Irving to play in most road games away from the Barclays Center. Still, Nets general manager Sean Marks has stated that no player can participate on a part-time basis. Given Irving’s refusal to get the jab, Brooklyn looks set to be without one of its big three for the foreseeable future.

2022 NBA Championship Odds

Brooklyn is the favorite to win the championship before the season begins next Tuesday. But other options may seem more attractive now.

Brooklyn Nets+260
Los Angeles Lakers+350
Milwaukee Bucks+750
Golden State Warriors+1200
Utah Jazz+1400

There were already questions raised about whether the Nets could go all the way this season and win its first-ever title. But the hope had been that with Irving teaming up with Harden and Durant, Brooklyn would be able to overcome the rest of the East, at least, this year and play for the big prize.

Irving’s Absence Raises Same Old Problem

The Nets came agonizingly close last season to facing the Suns in the finals after finishing second to the 76ers in the Eastern Conference and sweeping Miami in the first round of the playoffs.

But Nets fans only enjoyed 202 total minutes of regular season action with all three big-time players on the court. Irving wasn’t able to play against the Bucks in the Conference semifinals – and Harden was also not at his best as Brooklyn exited earlier than it had hoped.

Irving had stated that he had prepared meticulously for the upcoming season, giving the bookmakers the impetus to offer Brooklyn as the favorite to win the championship in 2022.

But now, his absence could affect the team’s chances in the same way as his injuries did last year.

Betting on the Nets This Season

Kyrie Irving has always been, let’s say, headline-grabbing. But expressing a belief that the Earth is flat could be laughed off as the ramblings of a player with too much time to explore the stranger corners of the internet.

But now his actions are affecting his ability to play basketball – and also his team’s ability to prove the bookmakers right and win the championship this season.

There are already a number of other teams that could challenge the Nets for NBA supremacy this year – and now Brooklyn is down one of its best players.

With Irving’s views on vaccination so strong, it seems as if it will be a while before we see him on the court anytime soon. That will surely affect the Nets as they start this season – and makes teams like the Lakers, Bucks, and Warriors all that more attractive as contenders.

Dan Roberts

Dan Roberts is an experienced freelance writer specialising in sports and sports betting. He is particularly knowledgeable about world soccer, but also writes about football, basketball and cricket.

As a fan of Nottingham Forest, New York Knicks, Minnesota Vikings and New York Mets, Dan has not had much to celebrate recently.

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