The Brooklyn Nets had high hopes last season.
After trading for Boston Celtics’ power forward Kevin Garnett, swingman Paul Pierce and guard Jason Terry, they believed they were legitimate title contenders. The Nets turned to first-year head coach Jason Kidd, who was a former Nets’ star and spent the previous season playing for the New York Knicks. Early on, it was a disaster. The Nets started 10-21, but turned things around, winning 34 of their final 51 games. They then defeated the Toronto Raptors in the first round of the playoffs before falling to the Miami Heat.
The Nets were obviously disappointed and forward Andrei Kirilenko believes the pressure of coaching the Nets got to Kidd.
“So the pressure is huge,” Kirilenko told Nets Daily. “And Kidd couldn’t handle it. Or maybe didn’t want to.”
“Basically he was not able to do much of anything, if you look at the big picture – we have to admit that fact,” says Kirilenko, throwing his arms open. “There were objective reasons. Our starting center, Brook Lopez, injured himself early and was out for the whole season. There were health problems with other players. But the serious goals set before the club were not cancelled. We were serious about fighting for the title.”
Kirilenko appeared in 45 games and played just 19.0 minutes per game last season. He averaged 5.0 points, 3.2 rebounds, 1.6 assists and 0.9 steals per game while shooting 51.3% from the field, 20.0% from beyond the arc and 51.3% from the free throw line. In the playoffs, he played in 10 of the Nets’ 12 games, averaging only 14.5 minutes per game. He averaged 2.5 points, 2.3 rebounds, 1.0 assists and 1.0 steals per game while shooting 46.7% from the floor and 64.7% from the charity stripe.