Andrei Kirilenko once stood among the stars in the league. Before Deron Williams took over the city of Utah, there was another ruling the Midwest hardwood, AK47. He wasn’t flashy or quick, he was just the right blend of athleticism and length that coaches loved. He was an avid defender, ranking in the top five in blocked shots and steals during his lone all-star year in 2004-05.
Last season, he played a vital role in helping The Minnesota Timberwolves stay relevant through their injury-riddled season, averaging 12 points and six rebounds a contest. There is great speculation that he was hired away from his good friend and Brooklyn nets owner Mikhail Prokhorov. No matter how he arrived in Brooklyn, the fans will rejoice once the season kicks off.
Brooklyn Nets have sure-fire scores at their disposal in the starting unit. As I stated in an earlier article, the season will hinge on the production of the bench. There is no need for Jason Kidd to call on the second unit if they can’t produce points or stop the opposition from scoring. Kirilenko is a rare talent, and he can defend the perimeter as well as the post. He should contend for sixth man of the year if he can stay healthy.
Every bench in the NBA needs at least one player who can put the ball in the basket, and Kirilenko should fill that void for the Nets. He has a great ability to take a defender off the dribble or destroy them from the perimeter. With Andray Blatche and Reggie Evans in the paint for the second unit, Kirilenko will be able to gamble defensively a little more than he could last year with the Timberwolves. As a player’s career winds down, only one thing is important, a championship. The Nets can now breathe a little easier when the second unit is in, because AK47 is locked and loaded.