NBA Rumors: Why Golden State Warriors Should Sign Andrei Kirilenko

Chris TrapassoAnalyst IJuly 21, 2012

ATLANTA - NOVEMBER 12:  Andrei Kirilenko #47 of the Utah Jazz against the Atlanta Hawks at Philips Arena on November 12, 2010 in Atlanta, Georgia.  NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and/or using this Photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement.  (Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images)
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It's time the Golden State Warriors give serious consideration to a defensive specialist. 

How about Andrei Kirilenko?

According to Marcus Thompson II of The Oakland Tribune, the Warriors have the 31-year-old Russian forward on their free-agent wish list. 

The up-tempo club hasn't had any issues putting the ball in the hoop over the last three seasons, never finishing lower than 11th in the NBA in team scoring.

Unfortunately, the highly entertaining form of offense-first basketball hasn't yielded much success.

In 2011, they finished a disappointing 23-43—a game out of last place in the Pacific Division.

Golden State is clearly in the rebuilding phase, but it does have an adequate amount of talent on its roster. Kirilenko would add much-needed veteran leadership and, even more importantly, could be an infectious high-energy defender that makes everyone around him play just a little harder on the defensive end. 

Though he's never been a polished scorer, his dedication on defense turns into instant offense, and Kirilenko is extremely dangerous in the open floor. At 6'9'', he's a fine finisher. 

Thompson II provides details as to where Kirilenko could play and what he'll likely cost the Warriors: 

Kirilenko can also play small forward, which he did for years with Utah. If his game is on point, he could even compete for the starting SF spot. They've liked him in the past, but his price was way too high.

Now Kirilenko, who is preparing to play for Russia in the Olympics, is apparently considering a return to the NBA. At this late a stage in the game, his price figures to be pretty reasonable, perhaps even the veteran's minimum. 

It may seem like an odd fit, but the Russian basketball legend is precisely the type of player Mark Jackson should be trying to infuse into the roster.