Kirilenko at the Center of Improving Nets

  • Added:
    Jan 18, 2014
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Kirilenko at the Center of Improving Nets Photo by Lemmy Morrie

The 2013 part of this season has been an embarrassing stretch for the Brooklyn Nets. The team that everyone was talking about in the off-season due to the big trades and signings with big money consequences have largely underperformed. In more than a handful of games, they just looked like they were mentally and physically out of it.

However, the new year seems to have brought in something new for the team. So far in 2014, the team have went 6-1 that included wins over the Thunder, Heat and Warriors. Although, it sounds a bit weird considering how the team is missing two of what many consider as their most important players, it wouldn't be wrong if one were to say that the Nets are turning things around.

The Nets, simply put, are playing well. While their offense could certainly use more polishing, their defense has improved a lot that it has them winning games. So, what changed with the team that has helped them get better by leaps and bounds?

Andrei Kirilenko.

The versatile forward has energized the team. Although game stats might not show it, his work on both ends of the floor has been impressive. His constant movement on offense results to some easy baskets and forces opposing teams to move around and thus, weakening their defense. He also hustles for loose balls that result to more scoring opportunities for the team. His contribution on offense is not limited to his points or assists.

And since much of the reason the Nets have turned things around due to their improved defense, it is important to pay attention to what he does on that end of the floor.

Due to his length and mobility, Kirilenko is able to defend well  one-on-one against different  positions. His quickness also allows him to get in positions wherein he can give help defense. Combine his mobility with his smarts and he can plug plenty of holes on the defensive end for the Nets.

During the Nets' tough stretch in the 2013 part of this season, many reserved their judgment for when the team was complete and healthy. They might never be complete and healthy this season with the absence of center Brook Lopez, but if they can continue playing in the level they are currently in, you could say they are doing quite well.

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