Brooklyn Nets head coach Steve Nash says Kyrie Irving needs more time to find his game and rhythm. The Nets sent Irving home at the start of the season for refusing to take the vaccine but returned him to the lineup after being hampered by injuries and COVID-19 cases.
"He's still trying to find his game," Nash said. "His level's so good that it's hard to tell, but we can tell, he can tell. He knows that he's not fully back yet. He's right there, and he has patches, but he needs the time.
... He needs reps. And games are reps for him right now. So it's great for him individually. And as a group, it's great to get more comfortable with him, to spend more time with him. To get him reincorporated with the things we're doing and try to move this thing forward."
Irving only available for road games
During his interview, Nash also spoke about Golden State Warriors guard Klay Thompson, who recently returned after missing the last two seasons. "Knowing Klay, it's a little deeper one for me in that I know how much he loves the game," said Nash, who spent five seasons with Golden State as a player development consultant after his own Hall of Fame career ended.
"And to have him have back-to-back season-ending injuries more or less was devastating for him personally, so to see him back playing where he needs to be, where he should be, where he wants to be, is a beautiful thing."
Nash noted it will take time for Thompson to return to his best. "Missing any extended period of time, it's not straightforward coming back," Nash said. "You have to find your rhythm, you have to find your timing, you have to get your legs back under you.
So two years is like an eternity ... that's some people's NBA careers. So for him to come back and play at the level he's playing at is really impressive, and he'll continue to get better." The Warriors are bidding to win their first NBA title since 2018.
"They have that championship experience and pedigree," Nash said. "You also have a bunch of guys that are hungry. They're used to doing that. So Klay, how hungry do you think he is right now? Steph [Curry], after their last couple years, how hungry do you think he is? I think Draymond [Green], as much as anybody's come back this year, [is] in incredible form. So they're hungry, they're motivated. They have that history, and knowing and corporate knowledge."