And while Kirilenko was projected to be Brooklyn’s deadliest weapon coming off the bench, Nets head coach Jason Kidd should feel plenty confident inserting second-year man Mirza Teletovic to hold down the fort in the backup small forward slot if Kirilenko isn’t ready for the season opener next week or even beyond. Teletovic had a solid preseason, averaging 11.2 points per game over six games.
But could Alan Anderson, a guard/forward who was essentially brought to Brooklyn this summer to be an insurance policy, be the better option for Kidd?
In seven games of action this preseason, Anderson averaged 10.6 points, not even a point less than Teletovic. Teletovic was also the better rebounder than Anderson – 4.0 to 2.4 per contest. Numbers never lie, therefore Kidd has to give the nod to Teletovic without hesitation right? Not so fast.
There’s one very big difference between Teletovic and Anderson that could actually sway Kidd towards Anderson’s direction if he needs to replace Kirilenko until he returns: athleticism.
Teletovic put up respectable numbers this preseason, but he isn’t the type of player Anderson is when it comes to quickness and pure scoring ability. While Teletovic relies heavily on being the beneficiary of passes that set up open outside jumpers, especially from beyond the 3-point arc, Anderson has much better ball-handling skills and can slash to the basket and create his own shots and points at will.
That will be Kidd’s call to make if Kirilenko is still sidelined by back spasms, but if I had to choose between these two players, I would go with Anderson because of his superior athleticism.