Irving on being sidelined: Felt like I was letting the team down

2022-04-26T10:51:49+00:00 2022-04-26T10:54:17+00:00.

Giannis Askounis

26/Apr/22 10:51

The Brooklyn Nets exit the 2022 NBA Playoffs after four games versus the Boston Celtics

By Johnny Askounis/

On the receiving end of a first-round sweep, the Brooklyn Nets recount the 2021-22 campaign and look forward to the next season.

“I think it was just really heavy emotionally this season,” explained Kyrie Irving following Game 4 of the best-of-seven series opposite the Boston Celtics, “We all felt it. I felt like I was letting the team down at a point where I wasn’t able to play. We were trying to exercise every option for me to play, but I never wanted it to just be about me. And I think it became a distraction at times. And as you see we just had some drastic changes.”

Irving, 30, missed most of the 2021-22 NBA season since the decision not to get vaccinated against COVID-19. He eventually returned to action in January but played exclusively on the road before being cleared to also play at home in late March. Presumably, the Nets would get more wins and a better Playoff seeding with Irving fully available.

“We lost a franchise player and we got a franchise player back. But we didn’t get a chance to see him on the floor,” Irving added commenting on James Harden leaving and the addition of Ben Simmons, “Ben’s good. We have Ben, we have his back. He’s going to be good for next year. But now we just turn the page and look forward to what we’re building as a franchise and really get tougher.”

Besides Ben Simmons trying to get back on track, Kevin Durant would like head coach Steve Nash to remain in charge despite the early ending to the season.

“Steve’s been dealt a crazy hand the last two years,” he pointed out, “He’s had to deal with so much stuff as a head coach, first-time coach. Trades, injuries, COVID, it’s just a lot of stuff he had to deal with. I’m proud of how he focused and his passion for us. We all continue to keep developing over the summer and see what happens.”

Photo Credit: Getty Images