“He wants to come to a team where he gets to have fun and has a chance to win,” said Williams recently to reporters. “That’s as big of an addition as [Pierce and Garnett], if you ask me.”
While bringing in a player that was incremental to their former team’s success is always a plus, it’s a stretch to say that it’s as big as the blockbuster deal of the summer. Remember, had the deal to finally sign former European draft pick Bojan Bogdanovic – who has a very similar skill set to Kirilenko’s – not fallen through at the last minute, no one would have compared his joining the team to Garnett and Pierce’s.
Kirilenko should make considerable contributions coming off of Brooklyn’s bench, but let’s be realistic. He hasn’t put together the first-ballot Hall-of-Fame resume that Pierce and Garnett have. Looking beyond the numbers though, the leadership skills of Kirilenko also don’t come within miles of those of Garnett and Pierce. He also doesn’t possess their championship experience, which is something that’s absolutely invaluable.
Although, if Jason Terry, who also came over in the Garnett and Pierce deal, isn’t Brooklyn’s primary bench scorer, many would expect that to be Kirilenko. His impact should still be greatly felt — make no mistake about it.
But let’s give Williams a lot of credit for what he was likely trying to accomplish with the remark. He’s probably just attempting to boost Kirilenko’s confidence as the point guard and leader of a team packed with scorers the way a jewelry box is with gold and diamonds.
For that, Williams should definitely be commended.
Mike B. Ruiz is a Brooklyn Nets writer for RantSports.com. Follow him on Twitter @mikebruiz and “Like” him on Facebook.