Ah.. the magic of Kyrie Irving in a year contract.
(Actually? One slight modification. Let me try that again.)
Ah… the magic of Kyrie Irving since the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day parade in a decade.
Because if you list Irving? Since Thanksgiving, you haven’t had any complaints. Because Irving only missed two games. And if you’ve been warned about the fates of fiction and coined it, you’re well aware that everything on the list goes back to Irving.
Irving is more on the field than Irving is not on the field. he is playing. Connecting. even better? Irving’s submission is statistically balanced and incisive. As of this writing, Irving is turning out to be a Top 20 campaign—in points and rotos.
Irving’s streak over the past month: 27.3 PPG, 5.2 REB, 5.0 AST, 4.0 3PT, 1.2 BLK+STL, 49.8 FG%, 90.0 FT%, 29.1 Utilization Rate and 62.9 TS%.
As of this writing, Irving’s play is as consistently reliable as Timex is. And for a player known for the operational steadiness of an off-market Rolex he bought a few blocks north of Times Square, the game-to-game consistency of Irving’s statistical quality since Thanksgiving has been something to watch.
And it goes without saying: In terms of sheer watchability (what’s with me and the hours of the day?), the collaborative majesty, pacing, attacking, and gritty efficiency of the Irving/Kevin Durant partnership after Thanksgiving is a rare treat of the evening.
In addition, Irving’s production continues to improve gradually! Through his first 15 games of the season, his 3-point production was amazing (32.5 3FG%). But in December, Irving flatted his 3-point attempts and went up to 41.9%.
The secret sauce stat that best underscores this improvement: Irving’s three-point try percentage. For the season, 43.3% of Irving’s field goal attempts were 3s. Last week, that percentage jumped to 49.3%.
This slight uptick shows Irving, as my daughter says, “Oh, I feel it.”
Now I’m going to try this again before I pivot.
Ah… the magic of Kyrie Irving since about 3:30-4:30 PM ET on November 20 in a contract year.
Durant is off for at least two weeks. maybe more. Fortunately, for Durant’s injury history, his most recent MRI appears to be, medically speaking, one of those “that could have been worse” MRIs.
Let’s put more/under on Durant’s vacation in…about a month. Give or take. (Sorry, my career as a bookmaker will be overly curtailed.)
Between today and the annual Valentine’s Day scare, the Nets are playing 17 games.
Dear reader, if there ever was a time to throw your imaginary destinies to the wind and invest your imaginary capital in a crypto roto that is Kyrie Irving?
Right in the present will constitute the said time.
Because here’s the thing: As much as I’ve enjoyed Kyrie Irving’s balanced, present, and consistent brunch since my scant (Pacific Time) salmon lunch back on November 20? Irving has yet to write one of “those games.”
One of the “Look at me” games. One of those is “get ready to pay me games”.
And Irving has been so consistent over the past six weeks, I almost forgot about his volcanic potential. His ability to compose one of the “Get Your Checkbook, Palmer” games.
As explained earlier, this writer is an expert on the outcome of the game. Career best score: 53.8, the night of his 60-point game on March 15, 2022. That arrived a week after he had the fourth-best score in the game, 44.1 of his 50-point game for the night. Total “those” matches in the 2021-22 season for Irving: four.
2020-21: Five “Those” Games.
In 2019-20, Irving only played in 20 games… total. Four of them were “that” games.
the time now. The table is set. The stars align. Variables are grouped.
It’s time for old Irving’s blast of “those” toys. But to get there? Irving’s utilization rate should remain in the mid-30s. The 30.0 UPR interval is what separates the stars from the stars. It is a mandatory requirement. Since late November, in his quest for balance, Irving has lagged far enough to drop his utilization rate below 30.0…to 29.1.
It’s getting too close. Last week: 29.6.
But now, we have the full equation to get back about 30.0. And to give this writer a gift basket of Kyrie Irving “toys.”
Kyrie Irving minus Kevin Durant plus John Muir High’s Jacque Vaughn plus year of contract.
Here is the need. We don’t have a lot of historical game data to drop what Irving would have achieved with this list and Vaughn at the helm without Kevin Durant.
I don’t know if you keep up with the ins and outs of the NBA news cycle. But the term I would use for the level of effort, patience, and luck required to enjoy six weeks of unrestricted Irving Durant basketball: “Cicada-Esque.” As in, they seem to show up about once every 17 years, scare the hell out of homeowners across the country, and then disappear.
The equation is set. No Durant. The strategic genius of Jack Vaughn. contract year.
Imaginary Fates: Please don’t let anyone add “bring Ben Simmons’ crime above absolute zero” to said equation.
Please don’t make the Nets think that these next 17 games are about fixing Simmons’ goals. For the love of John Hollinger, don’t make the following 17 games about it.
Fairy Fates, if you’ve done something for me – and heaven knows I’ve kept my end of the bargain – make these next 17 games about me. this person. This guy who’s been singing your praises for two decades.
Make these 17 games about giving about four to six Kyrie Irving games “I’m almost-31 and probably play-for-the-other-long-term-max-contract-and-would-prefer-to-games” no Run in Sacramento.
You know I don’t ask for much.