Kyrie Irving Says He's 'Slowly Crawling Into My Prime Right Now' After Playing Seven Games

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JB Baruelo

Earlier in the 2021-22 NBA season, there were some doubts if All-Star point guard Kyrie Irving could rejoin the Brooklyn Nets on the court. With the increasing numbers of COVID-19 cases in the United States, each state, including New York, created a mandate that would limit the movement of unvaccinated individuals like Irving. This only allowed Irving to play for the Nets in road games.

At first, the Nets were hesitant to let Irving play until he gets vaccinated against COVID-19. However, after being haunted by injuries and COVID-19 protocol, they decided to give "Uncle Drew" permission to rejoin the team on the road.

Kyrie Irving In Good Shape

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Irving may have been on the sideline for months but from the time he entered the court in the 2021-22 NBA season, he doesn't look like a player who hasn't played for a long period of time. As soon as he rejoined the Nets, the 29-year-old point guard immediately made his presence felt on the court. This season, he's averaging 23.4 points, 4.9 rebounds, 5.1 assists, and 1.0 steal while shooting 50.4 percent from the field and 36.6 percent from beyond the arc, per ESPN.

Kyrie Irving Slowly Returning To Prime

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Despite the return of Irving, the Nets are still far from being invincible. This was proven by their previous losses to teams such as the Portland Trail Blazers, Cleveland Cavaliers, and the most recent, the Minnesota Timberwolves. Irving admitted that he's still not in his 100 percent shape, but he assured the Nets' fans that they would see a better version of him when the real battle begins in the 2022 NBA Playoffs.

“I think I’m slowly crawling into my prime right now," Irving told reporters, as quoted by Kristian Winfield of New York Daily News, via Twitter.

Building Chemistry With James Harden

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When they acquired Harden from the Houston Rockets, some people have doubts if he and Irving could co-exist on the Nets' backcourt. Both guards are used to running the offense and needed to ball in their hands to maximize their effectiveness on the court. However, in first few games that they played this season, Irving and Harden proved that they could form an explosive backcourt duo in Brooklyn.

"We have a decent rhythm between one another of just getting out of each other's way but also demanding each other to play at that level," Irving said, via ESPN. "When it's us going together and us doing it as a tandem or a duo, it opens up the space for everyone."

Vaccination Stance

The Nets would be needing Irving's presence more in their upcoming games, especially now that Kevin Durant is on the sideline for at least four to six weeks with a sprained MCL in his left knee. However, despite the Nets' current situation, Irving doesn't seem to have any plan of getting vaccinated against COVID-19. According to Nick Friedell of ESPN, no injury or other circumstances could compel Irving to change his mind.

"Kev's going to heal, Kev's going to be OK, and we're going to have to deal with that as his teammates," Irving said. "But in terms of where I am with my life outside of this, I stay rooted in my decision."