Kyrie losing time to gain ground in MVP race
Brooklyn Nets superstar Kyrie Irving foray on the sidelines now enters its third week, concerning Nets fans and bettors alike. Luckily for Nets bettors, the team remains in the playoff hunt, but how long can this team continue to overachieve without both of their stars?
Irving missed his tenth straight game Wednesday with what the Nets are calling a shoulder impingement. On the surface, the injury is awful for a Nets team that was hoping for an immediate turnaround with the additions of Irving and Kevin Durant. Now, both of their stars are collecting paychecks by sitting on the bench. Luckily, this Nets team hasn’t suffered as many would predict without their stars.
The Nets have won 8 of 11 games in Irving’s absence, and have actually looked a far more complete team. Without Kyrie on the court, the team has relied far less on his greatness to will them to victory. Less reliance on Kyrie to score in isolation has bred success in Kenny Atkinson’s system. In essence, the less-heralded Nets have returned to their roots. Let’s not forget this team saw a huge turnaround last year.
If the Nets can keep their current pace of 12 wins through the first quarter of the NBA calendar going for the remainder of the year, they will fly by their projected win total of 44. Bet on the Nets to win 50 games if you can. This team has been on a tear, and the wins should keep rolling in. With upcoming matchups against the Hornets, Hawks, Pelicans, and Knicks, the Nets should keep moving up the Eastern Conference standings with ease. It’s likely Irving will miss at least the next few weeks with his shoulder ailment, which could greatly alter his MVP odds.
There is currently no timetable for Kyrie’s return, but based on the lack of clarity from the Nets, it could be far worse than first expected. If he is unable to return until after Christmas, his MVP odds will surely suffer. Look for the line to grow a little longer on Kyrie Irving’s chances to win MVP. However, as all bettors know, a huge second half, and improvement down the stretch of the season is what usually settles the MVP debate. Uncle Drew remains in the hunt.
by Nick Holz