Andrei Kirilenko: Mikhail Prokhorov brings more attention to Russian hoops

Debby Wong-US PRESSWIRE

In an interview with RealGM, Andrei Kirilenko says the combination of Russia's bronze medal winning national team and Mikhail Prokhorov has raised the level for Russian hoops and is likely to get young Russian players more attention from NBA scouts. Kirilenko and his Timberwoves teammate, Alexey Shved, along with Timofey Mozgov, won the bronze in London last summer. Although that was inspirational, Prokhorov's ownership of the Nets has had a more practical effect.

"I think it’s a huge impact because for the scouts and the NBA right now, it’s a little different approach for the Russian players," said Kirilenko. "I think it’s a great platform for the Russian young talent to get to the NBA because of (Prokhorov) and because the perception is a little bit different right now. The scouts probably look a little bit closer because they want to bring the Russian talent to make him play for (Prokhorov)."

Kirilenko and Prokhorov both said they spoke prior to the Nets loss to Minnesota. "He asked, like, how is everything," said Kirilenko. "I said everything is great obviously. I just said it’s a great arena because when we get to the arena it looks very flashy."

The versatile forward wouldn't talk about Prokhorov's pitch to him last July. "I’m not talking about that (Nets negotiations), said Kirilenko with a smile. "I’m a Minnesota Timberwolf." What is known is that AK-47 hosted Deron Williams in Moscow following the Euroleague championship in Istanbul last June and that the Nets went after him.

"Oh, he definitely was on our list. Oh, yeah," Avery Johnson said before the game. "That guy, with a skill set like that? I’ve always been a fan. He plays hard, he plays defense, he dives on the floor, he blocks shots, he goes back door, he’s improved his shot."

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