It is time to throw away the American inferiority complex with its place in the sport, where many blindly claim that technique should come above all in choosing and developing the best prospects and that the U.S. is not an international power because it cares too much about athleticism.
Far Fetched Friday: Kyrie Irving Will Become a Valuable Leader on the Brooklyn Nets
By: Ryan Stein
Welcome back to Far Fetched Friday, where every Friday we give you a bold prediction we think could come to fruition. This Friday, the prediction is that Kyrie Irving of the Brooklyn Nets will become the leader needed to compete for a finals run.
The reputation of the Brooklyn Nets' star point guard Kyrie Irving has taken a hit over the past few years. After spending the first three years of his career as a promising future star in the league stuck on an awful Cavaliers team, he was finally given the opportunity to play on a championship contender alongside LeBron James. While the next three years saw Irving and the Cavs enjoy great success, including three straight Finals appearances and a historic championship victory, Irving still ended up requesting a trade after his 3rd year with LeBron. There were several stories that speculated why Irving wanted to leave Cleveland, but two of the more common ideas were his desire to be the focal point of a team (as well as get out of LeBron's shadow) and his understanding that LeBron would be leaving via free agency the following year (which he eventually did).
Kyrie wanting the chance to lead a team of his own made sense, but his behavior with his next team, the upstart Boston Celtics, led to some serious questions about his ability to lead. Between publicly calling out his teammates and his team actually performing better without him in the playoffs, he clearly showed that he has a long way to go if he wants to become a leader of men.
As a member of the Nets, Kyrie has the chance to shed the bad wrap he's gotten recently. Ironically, his current situation is a combination of his last two teams. With Kevin Durant likely out for the season, Kyrie will have another opportunity to lead a group of young players with the chance to improve upon a surprise playoff appearance last year. Once Durant returns, however, Kyrie will return to being in the shadow of a superior player, albeit one with a little less of a media circus surrounding him than LeBron.
After hearing his explanation as to what went wrong in Boston, I believe he's finally able to hold himself accountable and will grow immensely as a leader. He's aware that he failed his team, which suggests he's ready to make a real change as a teammate. He has a real chance to correct the perception of NBA fans, and there's only one obstacle that could stop that: himself.
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