clock menu more-arrow no yes

Filed under:

Andrei Kirilenko says there's a "good feeling" Brooklyn Nets can "achieve something" this year

New, comments
Anthony Gruppuso-USA TODAY Sports

In a wide-ranging interview with Sport-Express, the Russian sports site, Andrei Kirilenko says there is a "good feeling" among  Nets can "achieve" something.  He also praises his new coach as "sensible," points to the contrast between this season and last and offers advice to his protege, Sergei Karasev, "be more aggressive."

The interview, which took place just before the Maccabi Tel Aviv game, covered Kirilenko's thoughts on the Nets, the Russian national team, David Blatt's challenge in Cleveland, among other things. Here's a rough, machine-aided translation of the highlights...

Regarding the upcoming season, Kirilenko stuck with the team's embrace of low expectations, not setting specific goals, but saying there is a "good feeling that we will achieve something here."  He says he likes the composition of the team.

He described the team as "quietly prepared," and "balanced," noting the presence of veterans --"players in the prime of life" and and "the 'cubs,' youth with experience." He called it a good mix.

As he has in English language interviews, Kirilenko said the atmosphere this season is different, saying last year's hype ruined training camp, that the team never developed its own "Brooklyn style." 

"I would like us to build a real team," he said. "Last season, there was a feeling that everything was done for the sake of the championship. The team played, but had no 'look.' There was not a style typical of 'Brooklyn.'".

This year, he said, is different and credited Lionel Hollins. "Personally, I love how Hollins conducts training," he said.

In particular, Kirilenko said Holllins works well with the younger players, an advantage for Karasev. 

"For him, the main thing now is to understand the whole strategy of our game," Kirilenko said of his 20-year-old Russian teammate. "It's good that our new head coach Lionel Hollins is a very sensible expert who helps a lot of young people, talks with them a lot, explains things."

Kirilenko also says that Karasev's youth may be keeping him from being as aggressive as he should be on the court.

"It is difficult for him to take over and say, 'Guys, give me the ball - I'll do it.'  In practice, I constantly remind him: 'be more aggressive,'" Kirilenko noted. "After all, he can do anything. But so far, he may be afraid of responsibility because he lacks experience."

He spoke as well as teammates.  Of Bojan Bogdanovic, who he described as "hard-working," but --speaking from experience-- Kirilenko noted his real test will come as he negotiates the "debilitating" season. Kevin Garnett, he said, may not be the same player he was in his younger days, but don't bet against him, adding, "to have such a veteran in his club is a great privilege." Kirilenko explained that Garnett is a rarity. "There are very few people who help partners not only with hints and tips, but also by his presence on the team." Of Andray Blatche, Kirilenko says he expects to see him back in the NBA after the Chinese season is complete.

Kirilenko described David Blatt, who coached both him and Karasev on Team Russia, as "close to ideal" as a coach and a "great professional."  He does not anticipate any problems between Blatt and LeBron James, noting that he never heard that James had ever "interfered" with his coach.

And he admitted once again, his new haircut is about feeling younger.