At 32, Andrei Kirilenko is the oldest player on David Aldridge's list of 10 who he thinks will have "breakout" seasons this year.
His reasoning is that Brooklyn could revitalize that stat-stuffing game AK-47 was famous for, and when he says Brooklyn, Aldridge doesn't just mean the team. He means the venue, the culture and the owner.
"The 32-year-old should return to the form he displayed early in his career with the Jazz, when he was a whirling dervish of defensive chaos-making. This was before the Jazz became the team of Deron Williams and Carlos Boozer, and Kirilenko was reduced to a sideman. This was before the injuries and the self-doubt and everything that has made a lot of people forget how good AK-47 was."
Aldridge suggests the big Russian population in Brooklyn, the opportunities New York's cultural scene affords his wife Masha and Mikhail Prokhorov's shared patriotism could all help him recall his best days in Utah. The disparity in money, Aldridge says, should be seen more as "an investment toward future on- and off-the-court successes."
In another part of his weekly column, Aldridge notes he is looking forward to seeing the Nets face Miami on Thursday on TNT. "You just want to see all of that money together in one locker room. You wonder what they would do if they decided to be crazy, and all decided to pull out their checkbooks and buy something. Like Finland."
- From Beal to Zeller, 10 players ready for a breakout season - David Aldridge - NBA.com
AK47 did not pick up a basketball all summer, but says he doesn't need a ball - YES Network