Kyrie Irving and Kevin Durant will make their long-anticipated debut with the Nets today in Brooklyn's preseason opener against the Washington Wizards. We've waited over a year for this day as Durant rehabbed from a torn Achilles suffered in the 2019 NBA Finals. While it's only a preseason game, the attention will be focused squarely on the superstar duo that decided when they were free agents at the same time in 2019 that they wanted to play together in Brooklyn.
On the eve of the game, Irving went on Instagram live to discuss myriad topics, including why he's not speaking to the media. But it was when he interviewed Durant and they started discussing the idea of Irving posting up that things got interesting, at least from this scribe's perspective. Irving said he wanted to post up eight times a game. Durant responded, "I don't think that's good for the continuity of our offense if our point guard always wants to be underneath the rim." The back-and-forth continued for another 30 seconds. It seems they truly don't agree on this.
While lighthearted and not likely actually dictating what the Nets will do offensively this season, the comments by Irving stand out because of his past issues with teammates. He alienated himself from LeBron James at the end of their tenure in Cleveland and two seasons ago was called out by a Celtics teammate for being "hard to play with." Is he really already trying to kill the movement of the Nets offense by requesting eight post-ups per game?
For Durant's part, he shut Irving down at every turn. When Irving pushed back two different times, KD simply said, "we'll see" in a "not happening" sort of way.
It's already been an interesting preseason for the Nets with Durant revealing he'll play center for the first time this year when the Nets go small and trade rumors swirling that the Rockets want Irving in return for James Harden. With Durant back and Irving propagating point guard post-ups four times per half, it should only get more interesting as the year goes on. Today we get our first look at the duo in action together. Just keep a close eye on how many times Irving gets the ball in the post. My guess is fewer than he wants.