Kyrie Irving’s list of accomplishments is lengthy: an NBA champion, a seven-time All-Star, a thee-time All-NBA selection, an Olympic Gold Medal winner .. same with the FIBA World Cup, a 50-40-90 season and NBA Rookie of the Year. He’s been MVP of an All-Star Game and the FIBA World Cup as well as USA Basketball Male Athlete of the Year.
But as Hoopshype reported this May...
Kyrie Irving has not yet received an MVP vote in his NBA career.— HoopsHype (@hoopshype) May 11, 2022
Along with Pau Gasol, the only player with six All-Star selections and no MVP votes.
Now, more than one pundit thinks that he’s a powerful candidate for MVP this coming season.
“I got Kyrie Irving as one of my top league MVP candidates. Everybody better brace themselves,” said Stephen A. Smith, often a Kyrie critic, Tuesday. “This brother is gonna put on a show!”
Brandon “Scoop B” Robinson of Bally Sports who’s known to have good sources inside Kyrie’s camp tweeted that having an “MVP-caliber season” is his goal as he focuses on weight training and core fitness.
No wonder. As Irving himself has said, he’s in the prime of his career. Moreover, barring a mid-season extension agreement with the Nets, he will be free agent this coming July and not just as an NBA player. Alex Schiffer wrote Tuesday...
He’s an unrestricted free agent next summer, and his future with Nike is uncertain, despite his shoe line being one of their best-sellers. A strong season could give him a better market, both on the court and with his endorsements.
It will not easy. He’ll once again be playing in the shadow of another perennial MVP candidate, Kevin Durant, as he did in Cleveland with LeBron James. His injury and health issues are well-known, not to mention his refusal to get vaccinated last season. That limited his season to 29 games and set up his confrontation with Nets leadership this summer. Indeed, Irving hasn’t played in more than 67 games since 2016-17. He’s also been a point of controversy again and again. And no Nets player has been an MVP since a similarly named player back in the team’s ABA days. There’s a lot to overcome. It is the media’s vote.
That said, he has plenty of motivation as noted and putting aside his missed games, he’s still averaged 25.4 points a game over the last seven years. In 2020-21, he became only the fourth player in NBA history to shoot 50-40-90 while averaging at least 25 points per game. And he remains one of the NBA’s most popular players with 17.2 million followers on Instagram and another 4.5 million on Twitter. He is, as Stephen A. has said more than once, “that guy is box office.”
For Nets fans, of course, an MVP season would be welcomed. You don’t get to be MVP unless your team is a serious contender for the Larry O’Brien trophy. It would also prove that Irving’s career path is once again on an upward curve.
Irving, as the Nets official media has posted is in the gym at HSS Training Center in preparation of the opening of training camp in two weeks. That’ll be the first step.