Andrei Kirilenko was the most athletic, most skilled, supremely talented, and ultimately FRUSTRATING player I have ever watched in all my years as a Jazz fan. No player could impact a game like AK47 could. When he would come from the weak side, slap a weak jump shot back to the three point line, run the lane and finish with a slam it was exhilarating. Andrei had the most creative passes, the best putbacks, beautiful defense that no player could match along with a goofy looking jumpshot that would surprise you by falling every once in a while. Andrei was so good that after watching him, you developed expectations that inevitably he could not deliver upon. At his best AK was a hybrid of Scottie Pippen and John Stockton. The problem was you only got his best some of the time. I’ve read a lot of commentary on AK47 on this site. The large opinion is that he was under-utilized. Some people blame Jerry Sloan and his rotations, some blame Deron Williams and his bullheadedness, while others blame Carlos Boozer or in a roundabout way Jerry, Kevin, and Larry for signing Boozer. Maybe he wasn’t used to his potential, but it’s not like he was given the Fesenko treatment. The guy played major minutes. He played enough to get fans hopes up and then let them down time and again year after year. Every season you could count on a month where he gives you the fully loaded AK47 basketball, the beautiful passes, the astounding help defense, the goofy jumper that surprisingly falls. Then inevitably it would stop. One way or the other it would stop, either he gets a strained calf and misses 60 days, or his goofy jumper quits falling and his confidence falls instead. He was the ultimate enigma. Andrei was the player that had the promise to push us over the top, but broke down as the team started to ascend. The funny thing about his namesake weapon is that it is known for its absolute durability under all conditions, you can always count on your AK47. Rather than being our most dependable weapon to assault our enemies with, our AK47 jammed in the middle of battle, time and time again.
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