Andrei Kirilenko played 19 minutes per game with the Brooklyn Nets last season, which was by far the lowest total of his career. It was hardly a secret that Kirilenko was not Jason Kidd’s favorite player, so AK47 must have been glad when Kidd forced his way to Milwaukee. A recent interview he gave with SovSport in Russia sure made it sound that way.
Kirilenko, whose wife called out Kidd when Andrei didn’t play in Game 1 of the Nets’ series against the Toronto Raptors back in April, wondered aloud if Kidd was unable to handle the pressure of coaching in New York.
“So the pressure is huge,” he said, per a translation from 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. 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 was injured for a good portion of the 2013-2014 season, so he was able to gain an outsider’s prospective while the Nets struggled out of the gate.
“At the beginning it was difficult,” he said. “What else could it be when you’re losing more games than you’re winning? Things were a bit easier for me as I was injured at the time and couldn’t be on the court and do anything about it, no matter how much I wanted to. So, inside, I was calm.”
Personally, I think the Nets rushed into making Kidd an NBA coach. Trying to become a head coach the second you retire from playing is an incredibly difficult transition. I don’t expect things to go much better for Kidd with the Bucks.