"Kyrie put everybody on notice last nightafter being on his couch for 4 months” - Shannon Sharpe on Kyrie Irving’s Nets return

Kyrie Irving #11 of the Brooklyn Nets celebrates with teammates
Kyrie Irving #11 of the Brooklyn Nets celebrates with teammates
Charles Eluemuno

Kyrie Irving played his first game for the Brooklyn Nets this season against the Indiana Pacers on Wednesday the 5th of January, 2022. The Nets went on to win 121-129, beating the Pacers in Indiana, with Irving playing a pivotal role.

Irving had a difficult first quarter, going 0-of-3 from the field, but turned things around early in the second. He finished the game with 22 points, three rebounds, four assists, and three steals while shooting 52.9% from the field.

Irving's dominant performance on his return had pundits raving about his qualities. One such pundit was Shannon Sharpe, co-host of "Skip and Shannon: Undisputed," who could not contain his excitement following Kyrie Irving's season debut. On the latest episode of the show, Sharpe was asked how impressive Irving's performance was on a scale of 1-10, Sharpe rated him a perfect 10:

"I gave him a 10 because it's not many guys that can get off their couch in a professional sport and say, you know what? 'I think I'm ready to go back and do this,' and do what that man did. Kyrie just put everybody on notice last night, he did that after being on his couch for 4 months? Damn!"

However, Irving failed to convert both of his attempted three-pointers, resulting in a 0% shooting efficiency from beyond the arc on the night. Sharpe went on to expand on this earlier on in the show, stating that he is confident Irving will find his shooting touch from range again.

"That outside shot is gonna come back. The mid-range, he had the 12-footer going. His three-point ball was a little short, the 18-footer, he didn't have that last night." Sharpe added.

Sharpe went on to list some of the possible factors that caused the Nets to change their mind about bringing Kyrie Irving back as a part-time player, including rival teams looking increasingly good and internal COVID-19 outbreaks within the Nets, adding:

"They said, 'Look here, you know what? We'll take a part-time player, because that guy is so good, he is so special, and he showed you down the stretch, he is special."
"Kyrie just put everybody on notice last night. He did that after being on his couch for 4 months?!"@ShannonSharpe on Kyrie's season debut in Nets win:

After missing almost the first half of the 2021-22 NBA season, Nets owner Joe Tsai chose to bring Irving back into the fold despite his refusal to get vaccinated. Before the start of the season, the Nets said they were never going to accept Irving as a part-time player but have seemingly changed their stance as the season progressed.

Many disapproved of the Brooklyn Nets' decision to have Kyrie Irving feature as a part-time player, but last night's performance provided a positive early indication to the Nets' that they made the right decision.

Not many players would be able to come back looking as good as Kyrie Irving did after spending so much time away from the court. Although it was not a blowout win, he helped the Nets quell the hot-handed pair of Domantas Sabonis and Lance Stephenson.

Kyrie Irving started his 2021-22 NBA season on a high note

Kyrie Irving #11 of the Brooklyn Nets shoots the ball
Kyrie Irving #11 of the Brooklyn Nets shoots the ball

Missing action for an extended period is not great for players, as one would imagine they might require a long time to get their conditioning back. But Kyrie Irving looked to be at nearly full fitness, playing a solid 32 minutes. Although Kevin Durant led the scoring with 39 points, Irving made shots when it mattered most, helping the Nets overturn a 7-point deficit at halftime.

Kyrie was ballin' in his first game back:22 PTS4 AST9-17 FG

As it stands, Irving will only play road games for the Nets as New York City has a mandate prohibiting him from playing home games due to his vaccination status. It will require frequent changes in style, but the players and coaching staff are willing to make it work.

The Nets play two home games before heading back on the road. If Kyrie Irving continues performing at a high clip, the Nets will be the team to beat, just as many thought coming into the season. One would imagine that Brooklyn fans will be excited at their team's prospects of going all the way this year.

Edited by David Nyland
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