When the Brooklyn Nets got Andrei Kirilenko this summer (at $3.2 million, which is a whole different issue) it was a brilliant pickup. There is no doubt if healthy the Nets starting five is very dangerous, but AK-47 gives them some quality depth along the front line to rest the older legs of Kevin Garnett.
Well, if Kirilenko is healthy.
He has a long injury history and he sat out the Nets last two games due to back spasms (as reported in the Boston Globe).
It’s preseason so let’s not read too much into this, but as was noted at Rotoworld you have to raise an eyebrow for a player who in his last five NBA seasons has missed at least 10 games a year (the short season after the lockout he played in Russia).
Again, it’s preseason and maybe in the regular season he would push through this, but it’s just something to watch. The Nets are only contenders if a lot of things come together and a good, largely healthy season from Kirilenko is one of those.
The Cavs are shorthanded in the backcourt right now, with Kyrie Irving still out and Iman Shumpert sidelined for up to three months. Yahoo’s Marc Spears reports that they’re bringing in former Temple guard Dionte Christmas, who played for the Suns in 2013-14:
In 31 games for the Suns two seasons ago, Christmas averaged 2.3 points and 1.2 rebounds in 6.4 minutes per game. He probably won’t get very many minutes if he makes the Cavs’ final roster, but there’s a chance they’ll keep him around on a non-guaranteed deal until Irving and Shumpert are healthy, just to have another body in the backcourt.
LeBron James sat out the Cavs’ preseason game against the Sixers on Thursday night, but Cleveland still held the lead for all but the final 5.4 seconds. Then, Sixers rookie Scottie Wilbekin did this:
Wilbekin, who played college ball at Florida, has a chance to earn legitimate minutes for the Sixers this season as they try to find young talent on the cheap. This is a good start.