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Brooklyn Nets 2013-2014 Player Review: Andrei Kirilenko

Joe Camporeale-USA TODAY Sports

Andrei Kirilenko was seen as Plan A+ this past offseason when the Nets nabbed him for the mini-midlevel exception. Kirilenko is a defensive stalwart who stimulates the offense through his off-ball movement and ability to pass. "AK-47" was expected to anchor the Nets bench unit and be a key cog in their championship pursuit.

However, Kirilenko battled back spasms in the preseason and played only four games before missing 25 straight games with his bad back. Kirilenko battled an array of injuries during the rest of the season as he failed to truly play a substantial role in the Nets' rotation. When he did play, though, he was active and efficient on the floor. Kirilenko's lack of consistent minutes carried into the playoffs. He didn't play in two of the team's games. Towards the end of the Heat series, Kirilenko finally received minutes to defend LeBron James and disrupt the flow of the game. Kirilenko's lack of playing time has made him non-committal about picking up his player option.



Andrei Kirilenko

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Kirilenko isn't a real "stats" guy. He plays beyond the box score, forcing turnovers, cutting off the ball, finding a relatively open man who finds an even more open man. Stuff like that. Kirilenko doesn't have the gaudy stats that most players have that are considered "fun," but oh my god Andrei Kirilenko is fun. The man does everything that has become lost in basketball such as hustle and make the fundamental play. He plays within his limitations and is always trying to make his teammates better.

That being said, Kirilenko took major steps back in his first season with the Nets. He shot 15% on mid-range jumpers, which is nearly 20% worse then his 2012-2013 season with the Timberwolves. AK isn't a talented jump shooter, but teams would allow him to shoot 18-footers uncovered. Kirilenko saw his offensive efficiency take a big dip too. He had an offensive rating of 103 this season, the worst mark of his career.

Kirilenko, also posted career lows on the defensive end. The Russian star had a defensive win share (an estimate of the number of wins that is contributed by a player due to his defense) of 0.9. His next lowest was 1.7 in the 2010-2011 season. He also posted his worst defensive rating of 107, the second worst of his career as well. Did this have to do with the Nets defense as a whole? Still, Kirilenko appears to be facing a downward trend.


Kirilenko has a player option for 3.3-million that he is unsure he will pick up.


Kirilenko's minutes were so volatile and his bad luck with injuries made it difficult for him to get into a real flow this season. No one moment sticks out to me, but when AK was at his best it was when he was on the floor battling for loose balls, or poking the ball away from the opposition. Kirilenko became one of my favorite players this season with his ability to wreak havoc on the floor.


Develop an offensive skill set. Kirilenko isn't a threat outside of the paint. As stated before, he shot 15% on mid-range jumpers this season, which is likely why he fell out of the rotation late in the season as Jason Kidd was trying to spread the floor as much as possible while having four three-point shooters playing. Kirilenko can be a real weapon if he develops a mid-range jumper so teams would have to respect him.

At this point in his career though, it is tough for him to develop that part of his game. Through 12 seasons in the league, Kirilenko has shot 26% on shots between 10 and 16 feet, per Basketball Reference, and only five-percent of his shots have come from that distance. It is good that AK does know his limitations as a ball player, but if he could at least become a legitmate threat from the elbow extended, he would be able to create so much more for himself and his teammates.


This early season play always stuck out to me. It was so early in the year that my man crush for Kirilenko began after this great display of hustle.


The Nets should try and give Kirilenko more playing time, if he decides to return. It was showcased when he received playing time that he gives the Nets all of his effort and keeps defense on their toes. The Nets ran out their "super-small ball" lineup with Kirilenko playing center at times against Miami in the postseason and it was successful. The most-used lineup with Kirilenko at center consisted of Kirilenko, Alan Anderson, Shaun Livingston, Mirza Teletovic, and Marcus Thornton. That lineup played two games and eight minutes together, which yielded 139 points per 100 possessions and an effective field goal percentage of 58%. Kirilenko isn't a great scorer, but he is certainly a weapon that could be utilized by Kidd next season.

I think that Kirilenko was misused in Brooklyn. With key contributors such as Livingston, Garnett, and Blatche not sure of returning, Kirilenko may get a bigger role if he decides to return. His lengthy battle with back spasms this season definitely shook his value a bit, so there is a chance that the Nets will be able to retain him on the cheaper side.

Grade: C

This was Kirilenko's worst season of his career, but he still had a major impact on this team when he received playing time.