Andrei Kirilenko: Why the Utah Jazz Should Re-Sign Him
Andrei Kirilenko has played 10 seasons in the NBA, all of them for the Utah Jazz. It is the only place that he has known as an NBA player. There are perhaps many reasons why the Utah Jazz should not re-sign him, but there are also many reasons why they should.
Kirilenko is the last player on the Jazz that was around during the days of Stockton and Malone. He has become the longest tenured Jazz player by far.
It is perhaps a risky move to re-sign him, but here are some reasons why the Jazz should at least consider offering him a contract.
The Utah Jazz are finally out from under the max contract that they gave to Kirilenko during his prime. This has been something that the Jazz have been looking forward to. Now that they are finally done with his huge contract why would they re-sign him?
Kirilenko will be much cheaper this time around. Although his best days are behind him, he still has some value and, at a lower price, it may be worth it for Utah.
A contract in the two or three year range at three or four million a year would be a considerable option for the Jazz front office. There are not going to be many other free agents out there that are better than Kirilenko at a lower price.
Fills a Position of Need for Utah
With a loaded front court, the Jazz seem to be set down low. They are, however, in desperate need of good wing players to spread the floor for the big guys.
Kirilenko is 6'9'', but primarily plays small forward. Not only does this give Utah size at the small forward position, but it also gives them a solid wing player.
He may not be a star anymore, but Kirilenko is a solid role player that plays a position of great need for Utah right now. He can play inside, but can also knock down the three-pointer pretty well also. He shot 36 percent from three-point range last season—the second best mark of his career. Kirilenko would be a solid player for the Jazz at the small forward position.
Andrei Kirilenko is a needed veteran presence for this Utah team. He is 30 years old and has been in the league for 10 years. Only Raja Bell and Mehmet Okur are older than Kirilenko and Bell is the only one on this squad who has been in the NBA longer.
The Jazz need some veterans to help their extremely young team develop. Kirilenko could help guys like Alec Burks and Gordon Hayward with his experience on the court and especially with his experience playing for Utah.
Considering his 10 years in the league, Kirilenko is only 30 years old and could have several productive years as a role player ahead of him.
Provides a Spark off the Bench
Although his best days are behind him, Kirilenko can provide valuable minutes off the bench for the Utah Jazz. He is still capable of playing 30 minutes a game at a high level and could provide a defensive spark off the bench. He would also provide a very capable offensive player off the bench, too.
The best teams in the NBA have great bench players. Having a former All-Star and All-Defensive Team member coming off the bench is a good thing, especially for such a young Jazz roster.
The bench is most likely where Kirilenko will find himself, but he can also step into a starter role when necessary. He has started for most of his career and could handle that role in place of another injured player. He would be a good sixth or seventh man for the Jazz.
Plays Multiple Positions
Players that are able to play multiple positions effectively are hard to come by, but Kirilenko is one of those guys. He is most effective at small forward, but can step in at power forward or even shooting guard when needed. He is also a very good ball handler and can bring it up the court as well.
Kirilenko is typically given the task of guarding the best offensive player on the opposing team. He can guard any position on the court and that skill would be a great asset coming off the bench for any team in the NBA.
Having a guy that can play multiple positions is especially helpful when the team is facing injury issues and needs somebody to step up and play the position. Kirilenko is one of the few guys that can do that and still be effective.
Good defenders are hard to come by in the NBA today. It has become an offense-first league. The best teams, however are usually the best defensive teams. Kirilenko has been an elite defender since joining the league in 2001.
He was named to the All-Defensive first team in 2006 and the second team in 2004 and 2005. He may be past his peak, but he is still an above average defender. Defense is something that is critical for young players to understand and Kirilenko is a good example of this for the young Jazz players.
He would be able to come off the bench and defend the best guy on the floor and do it effectively. The Jazz lack good defenders and re-signing Kirilenko would be a good way to keep a defensive minded player out on the floor.