I had a discussion with a friend about the affect of putting freshman Kyrie Irving back into the lineup for Duke after a three and a half month layoff because of a toe injury.
I said that Duke was a mature enough team to handle his return and believe that Mike Krzyzewski has been around long enough to get a great sense of whether or not re-introducing him into the lineup prior to the NCAA Tournament.
My friend disagreed.
He thinks Irving's return spoiled the chemistry between the other players on the court.
There are valid points for each arguement.
Senior starters Kyle Singler and Nolan Smith had terrible shooting nights in Duke's loss to Arizona in the sweet 16. Singler, 7-of-11 from the field. Smith 3-of-14. Could that have been a result of disrupted chemistry. Possibly.
On the flip side, Irving scored a team high 28 points, off the bench, and is obviously back to playing the way he had been playing at the beginning of the season. He also played 31 minutes. The most of his three NCAA Tournament games. However, it didn't affect the minutes of Singler, Smith and Mason Plumlee who all logged more minutes. I just think Duke ran up against a buzzsaw with Arizona.
There are TONS of valid points on each side of the debate.
Coach K said the other players welcomed back Irving with open arms and while we might never know what was actually going through the minds of the Duke players... it's fun to debate the topic.
What do you think?