Brooklyn's Kirilenko eager for chance to contendVersatile forward signed for less to join deep, talented Nets roster
Drafted by the Jazz back in 1999, Andrei Kirilenko was the first Russian player to ever be drafted in the first round. He spent the first ten years of his career in Utah, and was an All-Star in 2004 and is a former teammate of Nets' point guard Deron Williams. With a 6'9, 235 frame, he's also known for his defensive prowess at either forward position, and has been named to NBA All-Defensive teams three times. He is averaging over 30 MPG for his career and is used to either starting or coming off the bench as a sixth man.
Last year Kirilenko was with the injury-ridden Timberwolves, and he actually had a very good year. He played more minutes and scored more points per game than he had since the '05-'06 season. He was also as good as ever defensively, and Minnesota relied on him to defend the opposition's best offensive players like OKC's Kevin Durant. He averaged about 12 points, 6 rebounds and 3 assists per game, which is great all-around play.
Kirilenko will be a huge addition for the Brooklyn Nets this year no matter what. With a star-studded starting five, the chances are that Andrei will come off the bench to spell either Johnson, Pierce, or Garnett. There is a good chance, however, that Kirilenko will be thrust into a starting role if one of them goes down with an injury at any point. He will also help guard some of the stars in the Eastern Conference like LeBron James, Paul George, and Carmelo Anthony. Kirilenko will also contribute offensively, but probably not as much as in the past. He has never played on a team with this many shooters and is a very defense-oriented and unselfish player. When he does get a chance to shoot the ball, though, he should be open.
I would expect something like 9 Points, 5 rebounds, and 3 assists per game.