Nets eager to see how Kyrie Irving, new teammates adapt to each other
Brooklyn Nets head coach Kenny Atkinson has confirmed that Kyrie Irving will not play in the team’s preseason opener Friday against Brazilian team Sesi/Franca at Barclays Center, hardly a surprising development given the point guard continues to recover from a left-side facial fracture.
Atkinson and the rest of the Nets coaching staff are nevertheless eager to see how Irving fits in with his new teammates, although the team will not rush him along to do so.
“I’d say there’s push more from our side, coaching staff and performance, just being cautious and smart about his buildup,” Atkinson said, via the New York Post.
Irving did participate in the team’s scrimmage Wednesday after returning to practice earlier in the week while wearing a protective face mask.
The nature of Irving’s injury, suffered when he caught an inadvertent elbow during a pickup game — not to mention his history with such injuries — means the Nets will exercise caution and patience with their offseason addition. Atkins has liked what he’s seen out of Irving in limited action, however,
“He’s gonna be the quarterback and has picked up the plays, picked up our defensive system kind of seamlessly,” Atkinson said. “Very pleased so far.”
The Nets hope that Irving will play in the preseason, thereby affording the team the opportunity to gauge how well he is acclimating to his new situation, system and teammates.
“It’s interesting to see how each player reacts,” Atkinson said. “Yeah, that’s part of this discovery journey we’re on and seeing how they all interact. So far it’s been really good. The fear when you bring in a great player is people are going to defer too much. So, I haven’t seen that. And I think Kyrie’s done a good job of making sure they don’t defer.”