Coming into the 2019-20 campaign with spiked expectations after their offseason additions of Kyrie Irving and Kevin Durant, the Brooklyn Nets have significantly underwhelmed as we approach the season’s halfway mark. A record of 17-20 currently has them slotted as the eighth seed in the Eastern Conference, but injuries have certainly played their role in Brooklyn’s rocky start.
Of course, Durant is expected to miss the entire season after rupturing his Achilles in last year’s NBA Finals, but more concerning have been the injuries to Kyrie Irving. Irving came into the season relatively healthy but has missed nearly two months with a right shoulder injury. Now it appears the 6-time All-Star is on the cusp of a return. ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski reports that Irving is ‘likely’ to make his return Sunday vs. the Atlanta Hawks.
Kyrie Irving is likely to make his return to the Nets lineup on Sunday against Atlanta, league sources tell ESPN.
— Adrian Wojnarowski (@wojespn) January 11, 2020
After missing the past 26 games, Kyrie Irving is on track to return this weekend. For a team struggling to retain playoff position in a weak Eastern Conference, Irving’s return could serve as a catalyst heading towards the All-Star break.
Brooklyn’s dropped seven of their last eight matchups including a bad loss to the New York Knicks in which they only mustered 82 points. Their offense has sputtered as of late but a dynamic scorer like Irving could be exactly what they need to regain confidence.
In Irving’s absence, Spencer Dinwiddie stepped up in a major way but it wasn’t nearly enough firepower for Brooklyn. Along with Irving and Durant being sidelined, starting guard Caris LeVert also missed over a month after undergoing thumb surgery. With Irving back in the fold, expect the Nets to climb the conference rankings over the second half of the NBA season.