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How Andrei Kirilenko Changes the Brooklyn Nets

February 10th, 2014 at 7:06 PM
By Martin Mihaly

'Brooklyn Nets Practice Facility' photo (c) 2012, Maxim Pierre - license: http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0/

Andrei Kirilenko has quietly become one of the Brooklyn Nets most important players. 

He does not put up big numbers; he's only averaging 5.5 points per game and 3.3 rebounds per game.  His player efficiency rating (PER) is 13.24, good for 25th in the NBA among small forwards.  His plus-minus is even when he is on the court for the Nets.

Yet, here is the most important statistic; the Nets are 14-6 with Kirilenko in their rotation this season and 9-20 without him.  

It's no coincidence that the Nets are better with him.  Kirilenko is the type of player where stats are far from an accurate depiction of the player that he is.  He is an extremely smart basketball player.  He is an excellent one-on-one defensive player who can easily frustrate opponents with 7'4" wingspan.  He can defend some of the best scorers in the game like Carmelo Anthony, Kevin Durant and LeBron James.  He always seems to know where to be on the court.  

On the offensive end, Kirilenko does not need the ball to be effective.  Whether it's through cuts, setting screens or fighting for offensive rebounds, Kirilenko always finds a way to make an impact.  

In an interview with Devin Kharpertian of TheBrooklynGame.com, Kirilenko stated, "Individual is so big in the NBA and college basketball.  Beating your man one-on-one.  But sometimes it's underestimated and undervalued, moving without the ball.  If you don't have the ball, if you're moving and you can find the opportunities, you can be twice as effective." 

All of his current teammates have played against him in the past.  They knew as soon as they signed him how big of an addition he would be to the team and how much he could impact the Nets success this season.  

In an article by Roderick Boone of Newsday back in October, many of Kirilenko's teammates praised him.

Joe Johnson said "Man, he's a great player.  I've played against him all these years and he's a guy who can really do everything."

Paul Pierce called him "a special player."

Deron Williams was quoted as saying "he just brings a different element to the team."

The Nets need Kirilenko to stay healthy and in the lineup.  He's dealt with several injuries this season, most notably back spasms. 

His number's are not eye-popping but one thing is for certain; Brooklyn is a much better team with him in the rotation.

 

 

 

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Tags: Andrei Kirilenko, Basketball, Brooklyn, Brooklyn Nets, Carmelo Anthony, Deron Williams, Joe Johnson, Kevin Durant, NBA, Paul Pierce

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