Andrei Kirilenko was Russia's "go to" man while Team USAs Human Victory Cigar - Carlos Boozer - played 5 minutes with 2 pts and 0 (zip/zero/nada/zilch) rebounds.
The Cold War presented some interesting questions.Why is Andrei Kirilenko so dominant in FIBA basketball?
Mother Russia plays Andrei at a true four (as we see above). His line from the game was much better than his average Jazz night (and the entire game is only 40 minutes):
31 minutes 6-14 8 rbs 4 ast 18 pts
The only real drawback was his 6-12 FT shooting.
Perhaps having Boozer leave SLC wouldn't be such a bad thing for the Jazz. I know I have been a ranking member of the "Move AK" club, but when I see what he can do as a true power forward, it makes me think that maybe the defensive big man we are lacking, is actually already in a Jazz uniform. (?)
I do think Andrei has a love for the game of basketball and perhaps it is his love for the NBA that has dwindled. What do the Jazz need to do to get the ammo back in the AK-47? Team Russia found a way to do it. In fact they were able to use Andrei so effectively they came out of the bottom of the pack to defeat Spain and win the FIBA EuroCup last year. Who was the MVP? See the picture below. When was the last time you saw this much energy and passion from Andrei Kirilenko (and this picture doesn't count). Perhaps the Jazz should consider bringing Team Russia coach (American born) David Blatt in as part of their staff. He has proven that he can win, and we've seen the success a FIBA coach can have in the NBA (see D'Antoni, Mike).
Somewhere in that scrawny frame is an Basketball Star. I am positive of that. Perhaps the simple answer is allowing AK to play his natural position. He is much quicker than most power forwards and his length can give anyone fits. Allowing him to roam closer the paint will only make his help defense that much more valuable. If you watch Andrei's post moves, they are much stronger than any hint of an outside game he thinks he has. Playing the true four would allow him to get a lot of put backs and his length would make it difficult for the defender to get a good position on him while preparing for a rebound. Andrei had 8 boards against Team USA. That is 7 more than Boozer, Bosh, and Howard combined.
Team USA didn't dominate this game in the paint. They dominated with the outside shot. Was this in part to Andrei being in his element? I know Russia has a big front line, but I am starting to believe that all Andrei needs is a little confidence and position alterations to return to his All-Star form.
Perhaps this is the duo who will lead us to the promised land. Agree or disagree? Leave us a comment. -CB Jack