The NBA offseason is dwindling, and it proved to be the most dramatic offseason in NBA history. It was an offseason that featured six All-NBA stars change teams, and an offseason that “restored parity’ to the league. It was an offseason that made it so that ostensibly, every team has a chance to compete for a championship. The Brooklyn Nets got their fair share of goods this offseason, as they signed both Kyrie Irving and Kevin Durant. Both Irving and Durant made the All-NBA 2nd Team, and are among the top 15 players in the league. However, Durant will miss the upcoming season with an Achilles injury, and Irving will have no choice but to carry the Nets offensively. With the extra load on his back, will Irving be a top 5 fantasy guard?
Playing for the Nets, Irving will have a lot more opportunities to put up stats than he did on the Celtics. Playing alongside Jason Tatum, Jaylen Brown, and Al Horford, Kyrie only posted the 24th highest usage rate last season, with 28.6. The Nets have less roster talent, so expect Irving’s usage rate to shoot up. Although Irving will provide most of the scoring, the Nets do have some players who could potentially break out and give Irving some help, such as Caris Levert and Jarrett Allen. Despite this, Irving will still be by far and away from their clear cut scorer, and will likely have a top 10 usage rate. Irving will put up great stats, partly because he will have to in order to keep the Nets competitive.
The Nets used D’Angelo Russell, who is coming off his first All-Star appearance, very effectively. They utilized his talents by running the Pick&Roll seemingly every play. Irving can score very efficiently in the isolation, but the Pick&Roll will expand his passing game very much and will allow him to showcase his underrated court vision. In this Pick&Roll based system, Irving will get more assists, as the Nets have shooters all over the court for Irving to kick the ball to. More assists, paired with his inevitable scoring, will make Irving one of the most complete statistical guards this season.
Other Guards Taking a step Back
Both Russell Westbrook and James Harden have dominated fantasy basketball over the last couple of years, as they have the perfect combination of totaling points, rebounds, and assists. (They are both fortunate fantasy basketball doesn’t factor in defense.) However, the two are going to be sharing the same backcourt this offseason, making it hard for them to put up the same jaw-dropping stats. Both Westbrook and Harden will still be great in fantasy this year, but won’t be as untouchable, giving Irving a perfect opportunity to be the best guard.
Will it all come together?
This might be Irving’s best chance to establish himself as a top 10 player in the league in his career. He has a chance to lead his team and is in the right offensive system to put up great numbers. With his natural talent, and other guards expected to take a step back, expect Irving to seize the opportunity and truly become elite. Do not hesitate to draft Irving this year, as he has the potential to become a top 5 fantasy guard.