SI’s Ian Thomsen talks AK, Deron, Jazz
Monson and Graham interviewed CNNSI’s Ian Thomsen yesterday. Some highlights:
What’s happened with this team:
To me, Andrei Kirilenko is the guy that just makes all the difference, one way or the other. Obviously, having Boozer back healthy, playing for a new contract, that’s a big thing, but when Kirilenko is doing what he does…so few NBA teams have that kind of weapon…when he has it going, when he’s integrated and inspired like he is right now, it’s just a great team watch when he’s playing well.
AK’s rep in the league:
First of all, overpaid, for what he’s been doing the last couple of years, but then the way he’s played the last couple of months, he’s worth it…when he has it going, man, every team wishes they had a guy like him because of all the different things he can do. The way he can shake up a game, you can play your normal style, and yet he scrambles the game. So it’s almost like you have an instant full court press, and yet you don’t have to expose yourself in the full court press situation.
I see him as one of the most charismatic players in the league now because he is not going out there trying to be this media guy, he’s not selling himself all the time. It’s sort of like “take me on my own terms” kind of way of doing it, and he’s just so good, and he backs it up with his play. It’s just refreshing these days to see a guy that’s old-fashioned in that way. With Chris Paul being out, there’s more and more sentiment that Deron Williams has become the best point guard in the league, or is right up there with Chris Paul, and then when they play each other, Deron wins the game most of the time, and that’s how point guards should be judged.
For the rest, click here (mp3).
Thomsen also published a column, “Kirilenko keeps Jazz in tune,” yesterday. The article discusses AK’s relationship with Jerry, how he’s re-defined his role on the team, and how his offseason strength work is paying dividends.
Since Deron Williams and Carlos Boozer arrived, Kirilenko has often been at a loss to realize how he fits in. In 2006-07, his scoring dwindled to 8.7 points and he was seen crying after a playoff defeat. He hadn’t averaged more than 11.6 points over the past two seasons, but he refuses to blame his anxieties on Sloan.
“We never had a bad relationship,” Kirilenko insisted. “He’s a great coach and he’s a Hall of Fame coach. It’s just in every team you can have a misunderstandings. And we couldn’t really understand a couple of years ago what he really wanted. He wants me to be the same aggressive guy, but I can’t define the spot like what I’m supposed to do exactly. Like you understand it in the words, but when you start to play the games it’s different.”
Sounds like all’s good in the hood now. :-)