NEW YORK — Brooklyn Nets point guard Kyrie Irving claims he isn’t motivated to change his perception around the NBA.
ESPN reported that Nets officials were concerned about Irving’s mood swings, which have followed him during his career through both Cleveland and Boston.
“Human beings have mood swings. It’s OK to be human,” Irving said after the Nets dropped to 1-3 following a 118-108 loss to the Indiana Pacers on Wednesday night at Barclays Center. “I don’t have to be perfect for anyone here, nor do I have to be perfect for the public. So I’m not here to dispel any perception. I’m just here to be myself.”
Irving signed a four-year, $141 million deal with the Nets this offseason, joining forces with best friend Kevin Durant following a tumultuous 2018-19 campaign in Boston. On Media Day, Irving admitted he failed as a leader with the Celtics. Durant is expected to miss the entire season as he recovers from an Achilles injury, putting the spotlight squarely on Irving.
So far, he’s scored 141 points — including 28 against Indiana — but the Nets have just one victory to show for it. On Wednesday night, they were manhandled by the injury-depleted Pacers, who were without guard Victor Oladipo and lost center Myles Turner early in the game to an ankle injury. Brooklyn committed 19 turnovers and shot 10-of-31 from 3-point range.
“We’ve got a lot to figure out,” Nets coach Kenny Atkinson said. “We’ve really got to get to know each other more and get on the same page. They took it to us physically.”
Offensively, Atkinson admitted: “We’re not really running anything. In training camp you’re practicing a lot, you have a nice flow, you kind of know what you’re doing. I think we’ve lost a little bit of our structure and organization, which is natural with a new team and new guys.”
The Nets have plenty of time on their side, though expectations are high — even without Durant. And they’re off to a bad start.
Winning games and learning from his past mistakes would certainly help Irving — even if he claims not to care what others think.
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