This is the sixth installment of our daily Nets player-by-player breakdown, with an emphasis on what’s to come for next season.
ANDREI KIRILENKO, FORWARD
Year in review: Kirilenko averaged career lows of 5.0 points, 3.2 rebounds, 0.4 blocks, 0.9 steals and 19.0 minutes a game in his first season in Brooklyn. He played in just 45 games, missing several games due to ailments with the biggest being a back injury. When he was healthy, he was able to still show flashes and make the kind of difference that doesn’t show up in the box score with his active off-the-basketball energy.
Jason Kidd mixed up his rotation and Kirilenko’s playing time fluctuated in the playoffs. In the first round, he didn’t play in Game 1 and played a total of seven minutes in Games 5 and 7. He didn’t play in Game 2 of the second-round series against Miami. But in the Nets' final three games of the season, he became a fixture in the rotation, playing no fewer than 15 minutes in each of the last three games of the series.
Role moving forward: If Kirilenko returns, he can still provide the Nets experience, defense, energy and hustle off the bench. Kidd would likely have to monitor his minutes moving forward given the wear and tear on the 33-year-old’s body.
Contract status: Kirilenko can make $3.3 million next season but he has a player option.
What they’re saying:
“Let’s see,” Kirilenko said when asked if his decision to return will hinge on whether Paul Pierce and Kevin Garnett return. “Let’s see how it goes. It’s a lot of different things in the process. Roster is definitely one of those things. You want to be on a team which is competitive, that’s the main thing.”
Should they bring him back? If Kirilenko wants to return, the Nets would like to have him back. He can be a nice piece off the bench if he can stay healthy. Of course, Kirilenko could exercise his option if he believes there’s a better situation to contend for a title and a better role elsewhere.