NBA Free Agency Rumors: Andrei Kirilenko Would Make Timberwolves a Playoff Team
The Land of 10,000 Lakes drought is over.
Would AK-47 make Minnesota a playoff contender?
Adrian Wojnarowski of Yahoo! Sports reported on Wednesday that Andrei Kirilenko will likely sign a two-year, $20 million contract with the T-Wolves.
Now, let’s look past the fact that David Kahn is greatly overpaying for Kirilenko—offering $10 million a year to a player that the Brooklyn Nets attempted to give vet-min—because he instantly makes the Timberwolves a playoff contender.
Minnesota didn’t miss the postseason last year because of a lack of offensive firepower. It finished 10th in the NBA in point per game even though Ricky Rubio missed the final third of the season.
With Rubio and Kevin Love in the fold, the only thing holding the T-Wolves back from boasting an elite offensive attack was a lack of wings capable of putting the ball in the basket. They acquired just that in Brandon Roy and Chase Budinger this offseason.
Minnesota will be one of the most fun teams to watch in basketball next season, but as of now, it still doesn’t possess the defense to be considered a true contender. And that’s where AK-47 comes in.
The Timberwolves surrendered the eighth-most points in the league last year. With Kirilenko on the wing, that’d change.
In the 2010-2011 campaign with the Utah Jazz—his last season in the league after playing 2012 in Russia—Kirilenko allowed opposing small forwards to record player efficiency ratings of just 12.2, according to 82games.com. The NBA average is 15.0.
While it’s reasonable to worry that playing inferior international competition hurt Kirilenko’s game, at least he dominated that inferior competition winning Euroleague MVP.
As long as Kirilenko doesn’t look at his paycheck and coast knowing his bank account is loaded, he’ll take the T-Wolves to another level.
David Daniels is a featured columnist at Bleacher Report and a syndicated writer.
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