- Mike Mazzeo, ESPN Staff Writer
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Brooklyn Nets training camp begins on Oct. 1 at Duke University. Here's a position-by-position breakdown, continuing with small forward.
The starter: Paul Pierce
The Truth has made plenty of noise off the court this summer -- talking about his hatred of the Knicks and how he feels it’s time for the Nets to take over the city -- but he’s primed to make just as much on it.
Pierce, 35, isn’t a No. 1 option anymore. He says he’s going to be a “gloried role player” on this roster.
Eh, he’ll probably be more than that. See: leader, too.
Last season, Pierce average 18.6 points, 6.3 rebounds and 4.8 assists. He’s a career 37 percent shooter from 3-point range, which is pretty nice.
Remember, the Nets started Gerald Wallace at small forward last season, and he couldn’t do much of anything offensively. Jump shots? Nah. Layups? Nope.
Pierce was shell-shocked when he found out he’d been traded from the only franchise he’d ever known.
But recently it has sounded like he was getting more acclimated to living in a new city, and he certainly feels like he has a lot to prove.
Pierce has been a frequent visitor to the team’s practice facility for workouts. He wants to win another championship before calling it quits, and it appears he’s doing everything in his power to get it.
The backup: Andrei Kirilenko
From Russia, with defense and versatility, Kirilenko shocked the NBA by signing a one-year, $3.2 million contract with the Nets.
Yes, rival executives believed there was some funny business going on. And yes, they probably thought so because the Nets got themselves an absolute steal.
Kirilenko, 32, is only the backup small forward solely for this preview format. He can play multiple positions and guard them, too. He’ll likely be the one D’ing up Carmelo Anthony, Paul George and LeBron James, a seemingly impossible assignment for any elite defender.
Kirilenko has started throughout his career and may do so when first-year coach Jason Kidd elects to give Kevin Garnett a night off now and again.
Deron Williams said the signing of Kirilenko might have been the team’s biggest move of the offseason, and he might be right.
Once again in a contract year, you have to figure AK-47 is going to be highly motivated to cash in and play well for old comrade and boss yet again, Mikhail Prokhorov.
The third-stringer: Tornike Shengelia
Just 21, the second-year pro out of Georgia (the country) has plenty of room to grow as a player.
Shengelia’s game is still raw, but he has shown flashes, given that he brings so much energy on the court.
It wouldn’t be shocking if, like Tyshawn Taylor, Shengelia finds himself in the D-League a lot.
The Nets think he can be a productive player, but he still has a ways to go.
Shengelia is coming off offseason meniscus surgery.
Brooklyn Nets training camp begins on Oct. 1 at Duke University. Here's a position-by-position breakdown, continuing with small forward.The starter: Paul PierceThe Truth has made plenty of noise off the court this summer -- talking about his hatred of the Knicks and how he feels it’s time for the Nets to take over the city -- but he’s primed to make just as much on it.