Nets Mismanagement, Not Kyrie, Responsible For Epic Season Failure

mismanagement of the Nets season by Nets management.
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Since the swift sweep of the Brooklyn Nets by the Boston Celtics the sports world has been filled with discussion about who is to blame for this year's historically disastrous season of a Brooklyn franchise which was favored to win an NBA championship in 2022.

In sports media, a vocal contingent is primarily targeting Kyrie Irving as the primary reason for this year's disappointing season--especially, in light of Irving's decision not to get vaccinated, along with all the subsequent games he missed. But Irving is not the main source for this year's grand failure by the Nets.

Those most responsible for the mismanagement of the Nets season is the Nets management itself.

And we need only look at their mishandling of the two most important issues they faced this season: their fumbling of the Kyrie Covid vaccination situation; and their botching of the James Harden for Ben Simmons deal.

First the Kyrie issue.

Several sports media pundits argue that Kyrie caused a serious distraction because of his decision not to get vaccinated. Because he did that, they say Kyrie harmed the team when he became ineligible to play in so many games. But that rationale is too simplistic.

For one thing, Kyrie would not have missed all the games he did if not for the wrong-headed stance that was taken by Nets management. What was management thinking when they told Kyrie if he did not play home games—because of his opposition to the New York City Covid vaccine mandate—that he would also be ineligible to play in road games?

By trying to bully Kyrie into taking the vaccine they were daring him to rebel. And so, Kyrie did.

Do these people not bother to study the psychology of their franchise players? Or, do they feel they don't need to because athletes are dumb jocks who should just obey the dictates of their masters?

The Nets management should have known the carrot, and not the stick, was the right approach to take with Kyrie here. They should've allowed him to play in those road games.

If they had done this, it would have been much more beneficial for the team’s chemistry. And Kevin Durant would not have been as worn down as he was going into the Boston series. Durant would have gotten more rest, because the team would've won more games during the regular season, and they would've been a higher seed instead of barely making the playoffs

Also, if Nets management had taken this more appropriate approach, they would've stood a better chance of possibly subtly convincing Kyrie to get vaccinated. But instead, they tried to do what too many tyrannically minded employers do: treat their employees as if their feelings and thoughts are irrelevant and to be discarded whenever the boss man says so.

What did the Nets management gain by forcing Kyrie to sit out all those early season games many of which were tallied right into the loss column? What sense did it make to have Kyrie sit only to then cave later in the season by belatedly allowing him to play in those road games?

Their actions here were a silly waste of time exhibiting bad management.

Then we have the Ben Simmons for James Harden debacle of a trade.

What kind of due diligence did the Nets do before they signed this deal? How could the Nets make a trade like this, in mid-season, without knowing if Simmons would be ready to play—at least going into the playoffs?

This was an egregious error and head-scratching blunder.

James Harden is still one of the top players in the NBA. The Nets should have done their homework to know whether Simmons would be able to play this season. Otherwise, they should've waited till the off-season before trading an asset like Harden.

With Harden, it is inconceivable the Nets would've been swept by Boston. And there is more of a possibility that Harden might have rethought his position over the off-season. And Harden would not have decided to sit out the playoffs to force a trade, as Simmons did to force his way out of Philly.

But again, the Nets management made a hasty decision by trading for Simmons who sat (for the first three games) on the bench, looking like a GQ model, while Brooklyn was getting their brains beaten in by Jason Tatum, Jaylen Brown, Marcus Smart, and the Boston bunch.

If Simmons had decided to play, this series would likely still be going on.

With Simmons playing the point, Durant and Irving wouldn't have had to worry so much about play-making for their teammates. That would've allowed them to focus more on their scoring—and they would've been fresher to finish games down the stretch in the fourth quarter.

Instead, the Brooklyn Nets season ended in epic failure.

And while it is very easy to blame Kyrie Irving, the Nets management should take responsibility for their unenlightened stewardship that led to this historically underachieving season.

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