Kirilenko at a Starlight Children's Foundation
Fund Raiser in Nov. 2014.
|Born|| Andrei Gennadyevich Kirilenko|
February 18, 1981
Izhevsk, Russia Soviet Union
|Listed height||6 ft 11 (2.06 m)|
|Listed weight||215 lbs (107 kg)|
|Professional basketball career|
|NBA Draft||1999 / Round: 1/ Pick: 24th|
|Selected by the Utah Jazz|
|Playing career||1997-2015 (18 years)|
|1998-1999||CSKA Moscow (Russia)|
|Career highlights and awards|
Kirilenko was born in the Soviet Russian city of Izhevsk (briefly renamed for former Soviet defense minister Dimitri Ustinov), in the Urals, but grew up in Saint Petersburg, Russia. His wife Masha, a singer, is the daughter of Andrei Lopatov, who spent fourteen years on the Russian national basketball team. The two are parents of a son, Fyodor.
On January 18, 1997, Andrei Kirilenko became the youngest player ever to compete in the Russian Superleague, scoring three points for his hometown Spartak Saint Petersburg against Spartak Moscow. After spending two seasons with Spartak Saint Petersburg, he joined CSKA Moscow in 1998. In his first season, he helped his new team win the Russian Superleague championship. He was also selected to participate in the Russian All-Star game, helping the West beat the East 138-107 and winning the slam dunk contest.
On June 30, 1999, at age Template:Age in years and days, Kirilenko became the youngest European player at the time to be drafted in the National Basketball Association, when the Utah Jazz selected him with the 24th pick. However, he remained with CSKA Moscow for the next two seasons. In the 1999-2000 season, he helped his team win the inaugural championship of the Eastern European Basketball League and its second Russian Superleague championship in a row. On April 23, 2000, he participated in his second Russian All-Star game, helping the West beat the East 122-111. Despite being the odds-on favorite to win the slam dunk contest, he finished second to Harold Dean of Lokomotiv Mineralnye Vody.
Andrei Kirilenko participated in the 2000 Summer Olympics as a member of the Russian national basketball team, which finished 8th in the tournament. On February 8, 2001, in his third season with CSKA Moscow, Kirilenko became the second player ever in the history of the Euroleague to record a triple-double with 13 points, 11 rebounds, and 10 steals against Lietuvos Rytas. He showed off his all-around skills in the European Championships, finishing in top ten in 7 out of 8 statistical categories.
Kirilenko joined the Utah Jazz in the 2001-02 NBA season. He was named to the first team on the NBA All-Rookie team. He has since emerged as one of the top young players in the NBA, and one of the league's top weak-side defenders. He was selected to play as a reserve in the 2004 NBA All-Star Game in Los Angeles. In the 2003-04 NBA season, he ranked third in the league in blocked shots per game and fourth in the league in steals per game, becoming just the second player in NBA history to rank in the top five in both categories (David Robinson ranked first in blocked shots per game and fifth in steals per game in the 1991-92 NBA season). During the NBA offseason, Kirilenko plays for the Russian national basketball team.
Kirilenko became the leader of the Jazz in 2003 after John Stockton retired and Karl Malone left Utah to join the Los Angeles Lakers. He played and started in 78 of the Utah's 82 games and led them to a 42-40 record. Utah missed the playoffs by one game behind the Denver Nuggets. He finished fifth in Defensive Player of the Year voting and fourth in Most Improved Player voting and was named to the second team on the All-NBA Defensive Team. Kirilenko led the Jazz in many statistical categories:
- total points: 1284
- points per game: 16.5
- total rebounds: 629
- rebounds per game: 8.1
- blocks: 215
- blocks per game: 2.8
- steals: 150
- steals per game: 1.9
- free throws made: 392
- free throws attempted: 496
- three-pointers made: 68
- three-pointers attempted: 201
In the middle of the 2004-05 season against the Washington Wizards, Kirilenko sustained a broken right wrist, sidelining him for the remainder of the season. Despite only playing in 41 of the Jazz' 82 games, he amassed enough blocked shots during the season to qualify as the league leader in blocks per game, and was named to the second team on the NBA All-Defensive Team.
In the 2005-06 season Kirilenko was again among the league's best shotblockers and defenders. He recorded a career high 10 blocks against Indiana on March 26 and finished first in the league with total blocks (220) and second in blocks per game with 3.2, just behind league leader Marcus Camby at 3.3. He was named to the first team on the NBA All-Defensive Team.
In close games, Kirilenko proved that his defense can win games, deflecting or blocking the potential game-winning shot or lay-up. Kirilenko moved to the two-guard, or 'shooting guard' position, when Jerry Sloan opted to go with a larger lineup, giving Andrei more freedom with the ball in his hands, and utilizing his perimeter offensive skill set. However, he has since moved back primarily to the small forward position. Many experts felt that Kirilenko was only improving, considering he was still just 25 years of age. He was also a top fantasy basketball player due to his contributions to many statistics.
Kirilenko averaged 15.3 points, 8 rebounds, 1.5 steals, 3.2 blocks and 4.3 assists per game in the 2005-2006 season. For his NBA career, he averages 13.8 points, 6.5 rebounds, 1.6 steals, 2.6 blocks, and 2.6 assists per game.
The 2006-2007 season was a tremendous disappointment for Kirilenko. While playing in 70 games and not missing much playing time, he averaged career lows in points (8.3), rebounds (4.7), and field goal attempts (3.4). It has been said that much of this decline can be attributed to the main offensive emphasis on Carlos Boozer, Deron Williams, and Mehmet Okur, and that Kirilenko was uncomfortable losing his position as the main go-to guy on the team. His frustration eventually culminated in a widely-publicized breakdown near the end of the Jazz's first-round playoffs series against the Houston Rockets. Kirilenko bounced back to lead Russia to the championship in EuroBasket 2007, and was named MVP of the tournament. Following his performance in the 2007 European championship he asked to be released from his contract to return to Russia to play basketball.
Despite the trade rumors and controversy created by these statements, he rebounded in the 2007-08 NBA season and backed off on trade demands. His statistics for the 2007-08 NBA season were: 11.0 ppg, 4.7 rpg, 4.0 apg, 1.2 spg, and 1.5 bpg, all of which were improvements over his previous season's stats (with the exception of blocks and rebounds). He worked out personally with former Jazz shooting guard Jeff Hornacek on his shooting in the 2007 offseason, and his field goal percentage improved from 47% to 51%. Most impressively, his 3-point shooting improved from 21% to a career-high 38%. The assists average is a career high, perhaps showing that he is now more content in his role as more of a facilitator than a scorer.
So far during the 2008-2009 season, Kirilenko is averaging: 13.0 ppg, 6.3 rpg, 3.7 apg, 1.6 spg, and 1.5 bpg. He has come off the bench in all 13 of the Jazz games so far, and seems to be progressing statistically and with the same comfort as he had before the 2006-2007 season, indicating further comfort and the ability to excel in his current role. He also seems to have improved Free throow shooting, so far averaging a career high 82.4%.