The Brooklyn Nets came into the 2021-22 NBA season as the favorites to win a championship.
Unfortunately, the team’s title odds took a bit of a hit when star guard Kyrie Irving expressed a reluctance to procure the COVID-19 vaccination. Due to New York mandates, that rendered him unavailable for the Nets’ home games.
In his absence, the squad has rallied – winning seven of their last 10 games and locking down the top seed in the Eastern Conference 20 outings in.
This past week Nets guard DeAndre’ Bembry offered some insight into how his teammate is doing mentally in light of everything that has transpired.
“At this point, I send certain messages because I know his phone’s getting blown up at this time,” Bembry said, per Brian Lewis of the New York Post. “So I try to give him his space, because I know he’s just one of those people that needs his space sometimes to collect his thoughts and his energy and stuff. So for the most part, I definitely sent him a couple messages over this time to just check up on him, make sure he’s good.”
Overall Irving appears to be in a good mental space.
“I know he’s good, I know he’ll figure this out and get through it,” Bembry added. “But for the most part, like I said, I try to give him his space, because I know I know how this could be. I know a lot of his family’s calling him, friends, fans and all type of people; so try to give them a little bit of space with all of this that’s going on.”
Bembry, who is currently on a $750,000 partially guaranteed contract, has been playing superb basketball for the Nets as of late. He has played in each of his team’s games except one, averaging 5.8 points and 3.1 rebounds per affair. As a starter, he is averaging 10.5 points (on 61 percent shooting) and 6.8 rebounds per game.
Paulina Gretzky knows what she’s doing. https://t.co/mx5KTZLgZe
— Game 7 (@game7__) November 29, 2021
James Harden’s blunt comments on Irving’s absence speak for themselves.
Fortunately, it appears the Nets have a stud in Bembry. And it looks like, against all odds, they’re still going to be able to compete for a championship this year even sans Irving.