By Jordan Berkowitz on July 17, 2014
The Brooklyn Nets appear to be returning to the core that was very successful in the regular season two years ago, with Deron Williams, Joe Johnson and Brook Lopez. The Nets have been able to surround these three guys with solid role players. Here are five players who should receive an increase in playing time in the 2014-2015 season.
Sergey Karasev was a first-round pick last year, but only averaged 7.1 minutes per game with the Cleveland Cavaliers. Before his NBA career, Karasev was an excellent scorer with a great shot. He has the ability to be a good playmaker and flashes of his potential were seen in his limited minutes last year. With the departure of Paul Pierce, Brooklyn has a hole to fill in the small forward rotation, and Karasev should see the court more often.
Some people believed Andrei Kirilenko would be in the Sixth Man of the Year discussion prior to last season, but he averaged just 19 minutes of action per game. Although he is 33 years old, Kirilenko is still a pesky defender who applies pressure on the wing and can make things happen on defense. Kirilenko will definitely have to take on a larger role this season and most likely fill Pierce's void in the starting lineup.
Even though the Nets acquired Jarrett Jack, Jorge Gutierrez will still be relied on for quality minutes. He averaged 16.3 minutes in 15 games last year and proved he was capable of running the offense. He is not going to heavily impress with his scoring, but Gutierrez hustles and controls the tempo with his passing. Additionally, if Jack assumes a role like Shaun Livingston where he plays alongside Deron, Gutierrez will be the primary backup.
Mason Plumlee had a strong rookie campaign and appears to be ready to expand his game. He is a stellar defender near the basket, and was surprisingly a great finisher in the same area on offense. Plumlee is also extremely athletic and has a very high ceiling to develop into eventually a valuable starting center. He averaged 18.2 minutes last season and should average more next year as he continues his growth.
Mirza Teletovic deserves, and will receive, a substantial increase in minutes. He averaged 19.4 last season but finished strong as one of the Nets' most important players in the playoffs. He has already established himself as an outstanding three-point shooter, but he also works hard and does the little things to help the team win. He may not be in the starting lineup, but Mirza will be pivotal to Brooklyn's success this upcoming season.
Jordan Berkowitz is a Brooklyn Nets and NBA writer for RantSports.com
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