Kyrie Irving Says 'It's Transparent' How Much Work Nets Have to Be Competitive

Timothy Rapp@@TRappaRTFeatured ColumnistJanuary 16, 2020

PHILADELPHIA, PA - JANUARY 15: Kyrie Irving #11 of the Brooklyn Nets wipes his face during the fourth quarter against the Philadelphia 76ers at the Wells Fargo Center on January 15, 2020 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. The 76ers defeated the Nets 117-106. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and/or using this photograph, user is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. (Photo by Mitchell Leff/Getty Images)
Mitchell Leff/Getty Images

Kyrie Irving said the Brooklyn Nets have "glaring" roster needs that will need to be addressed in the offseason if they are to compete against the top teams in the NBA after Brooklyn's 117-106 loss against the Joel Embiid-less Philadelphia 76ers on Wednesday night. 

The Nets have been without Kevin Durant this season as he continues to rehabilitate from a torn Achilles, and they might need to add another piece or two in the offseason to compete for a title in 2020-21 and beyond. But Irving's performance Wednesday—he shot 6-of-21 from the field, finishing with 14 points and a team-worst minus-29 in 37 minutes—didn't help Brooklyn's cause.  

Of note, Irving said, "Collectively, I feel like we have great pieces, but it's pretty glaring we need one or two more pieces that will complement myself, [Durant], [DeAndre Jordan], [Garrett Temple], [Spencer Dinwiddie], [Caris LeVert], and we'll see how that evolves."

Conspicuously absent from that list of players was talented young big man Jarrett Allen and sharpshooter Joe Harris, both of whom are regular starters. That may not mean that Irving doesn't seem them as long-term pieces worth keeping and building around. He may have been saying names off the top of his head and missed two of his key teammates. 

But Allen and Harris are arguably more valuable than veterans like Jordan or Temple. Allen, 21, is 10 years younger than Jordan but is already outproducing him:

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  • Allen: 11.4 PPG, 9.7 RPG, 1.3 BPG, 1.5 net rating
  • Jordan: 8.1 PPG, 9.9 RPG, 1.0 BPG, -6.2 net rating. 

The 28-year-old Harris, meanwhile, has outplayed the older Temple (33) as well:

  • Harris: 14.2 PPG, 46.5 shooting percentage, 40.9 percent from three, 0.6 net rating.
  • Temple: 10.5 PPG, 36.8 shooting percentage, 32.1 percent from three, -2.3 net rating.

It's interesting that Irving would omit two starting players when mentioning pieces worth building around in favor of veterans who are past their prime and currently coming off the bench. And the timing of the comments, with the Nets mired in a 2-9 stretch since Dec. 26, may rub some folks the wrong way. 

The Nets are still the eighth seed in the Eastern Conference with an 18-22 record. They hold a comfortable four-game lead over the ninth team in the standings, the Chicago Bulls. So it's perhaps a bit early to be contemplating any offseason moves or publicly ruminating on the need for them.