The Nets are “missing a big piece,” according to All-Star point guard Kyrie Irving.
Yes, Irving says that even once Kevin Durant suits up, Brooklyn will still have a “glaring” hole.
The injury-riddled Nets (18-22) have lost two in a row, and are clinging on to the eighth and final playoff seed in the Eastern Conference.
Per The NY Post:
“It’s transparent. It’s out there. It’s glaring in terms of the pieces that we need in order to be at that next level,” Irving said after scoring just 14 points in the Nets’ 117-106 loss to the 76ers on Wednesday night. “I’m going to continue to reiterate it: We’re going to do the best with the guys that we have in our locker room now, and we’ll worry about all the other stuff — in terms of moving pieces and everything else — as an organization down the line in the summer.
“It’s just something that we signed up for. We knew what we were coming into at the beginning of this season. Guys were going down left and right, [Garrett Temple] is out, [DeAndre Jordan] just got hurt, Wilson [Chandler] just came back. We’ve got complimentary young guys as well that’ve done a great job the last three years; collectively, I feel like we have great pieces. But it’s pretty glaring we need one more piece or two more pieces that will compliment myself, KD, DJ, GT, Spencer (Dinwiddie), Caris (LeVert), and we’ll see how that evolves.”
Though Irving seems to think the Nets need not only Durant but possibly another piece to hoist a trophy, his boss’ boss doesn’t agree, (owner Joe) Tsai saying there’s enough talent on this roster to win a title.
“Absolutely. I think the fans expect that we win a championship,” Tsai said on YES. “And the good thing is I believe that we do have the pieces in place. Now, we have some injuries and people are coming back. But the fundamental pieces are in place to perhaps go all the way, so I’m absolutely comfortable that if we pay the luxury tax that’s fine.”
Either way, Irving conceded that for the time being, they can’t use Durant’s absence as an alibi.
“It’s glaring that you’re missing a big piece here,” said Irving, who shot 1-for-7 in the fourth quarter. “We all know that. But we can’t continue to make that excuse. We’ve got to go out there and compete and continue to lock in and see where we end up.”