Ben Couch, in his latest (and final) look at the new Nets shot charts, portrays Andrei Kirilenko as an efficient offensive player who knows his strengths and capitalizes on them.
His biggest strength, Couch writes, is his ability to finish and in general, score in the paint. The Nets' inside beat writer reports.
"He was at his best within eight feet of the hoop (.625 FG%; +6.0% compared to league average) and his worst, shots from the far left baseline (.235 FG%; 4-17 FGs; -17.4%)."
So he takes 20 times as many shots from where he shoots best, 347 shots to 17. Interestingly for a player who's likely to come off the bench, Couch notes his best quarter is the first.
"The first quarter proved to be Kirilenko's most effective, with a Net Rating of +5.9 (Off: 102.4; Def: 96.5) and a turnover ratio of 10.85, his lowest of any period. His .556 eFG%* also ranked highest, due to a heighted rate of two-point attempts (5.8-11.1 per-36 minutes) and fewer thres (0.6-1.9)."
Although he shot a mediocre 29.2 percent from three point range, he shot a torrid 59.1 percent against Eastern Conference teams from his favorite location beyond the arc, the right wing. Overall, he shot 33.8 percent from there.
Encouraging for Jason Kidd is that at least last season, AK-47 played his best in April, despite the Timberwolves woeful season, one in which one player after another went down to injury and illness.
"Kirilenko finished the season strong, with a 10-game April kick that included a .531 shooting percentage and just 20 attempts outside his power zones of 8 feet in and right-wing threes."
What the shot charts don't show is that Kirilenko was the stable force that kept the Timberwolves going. Overall, he had his best offensive season in five years, with his top marks in minutes per game (31.8); shooting percentage (50.7 ... his best ever); rebounds (5.7); steals (1.5) and points (12.4) over that period. And this came after his MVP season in the Euroleague the year before.