Deron Williams is feeling healthy, primed for a big role and clearly the Nets’ starting point guard. Kevin Garnett will start at power forward, Brooklyn coach Lionel Hollins said. Though Mason Plumlee wants to start at center, Brook Lopez is an All-Star-caliber big man when healthy. Joe Johnson will surely start on the wing.
That leaves one starting position open.
The Nets could go a little smaller – using Jarrett Jack or Alan Anderson at shooting guard with Johnson at small forward. Or they could go a little bigger – using Andrei Kirilenko at small forward with Johnson at shooting guard.
Will that create big training-camp competition between Jack, Anderson and Kirilenko? Not to Kirilenko.
Stefan Bondy of the New York Daily News (hat tip: Basketball Insiders):
Kirilenko played a career-low 19 minutes per game last season, seven fewer minutes per game than his next lowest. Part of that is aging – Kirilenko is 33 – but he definitely didn’t see eye-to-eye with former Nets coach Jason Kidd.
After opting into the final year of his contract and a relatively modest salary, Kirilenko is justified to expect a larger role. He can’t dominate the game in all phases like he once did, but he can still contribute. And with Paul Pierce in Washington, Brooklyn needs more from other forwards like Kirilenko.
As long as Kirilenko isn’t too far over the hill, his defense should endear him to Hollins. I bet Kirilenko’s tick back up between last season (19 per game) and his previous career low (26).