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Friday, July 12, 2013
King: Keep questioning KG, Pierce

By Mike Mazzeo

Brooklyn Nets general manager Billy King has a message for those that have questioned just how productive and healthy Kevin Garnett (37) and Paul Pierce (35) will be this season: Keep doing it.

"I hope people keep questioning KG and Paul Pierce's age because I know the type of warriors they are," King said in a Friday conference call. "The workload will not be as much as it's been in the past because of their teammates, but I enjoy the fact that people keep questioning Kevin and Paul. I know that they'll come out and prove them wrong, so I'm not concerned about that at all."

If their previous seasons are any indication, don't expect that big of a drop-off ... if there even is a drop-off at all.

KG's previous five seasons: 31.2 mpg, 15.9 ppg, 8.4 rpg, 52.5 fg pct
KG last season: 29.7 mpg, 14.8 ppg, 7.8 rpg, 49.6 fg pct

Pierce's previous five seasons: 35.3 mpg, 19.3 ppg, 46.6 fg pct
Pierce last season: 33.4 mpg, 18.6 ppg, 43.6 fg pct

It seems that the most important thing will be managing their minutes and keeping them healthy. Last season, Garnett missed 14 games and Pierce missed five games due to injury. In the playoffs, Garnett was quite good (35.3 mpg, 12.7 ppg, 13.7 rpg, 50 fg pct), while Pierce struggled (42.5 mpg, 19.2 ppg, 36.8 fg pct).

Both players were asked to carry the Celtics down the stretch after Rajon Rondo suffered a season-ending injury.

But the Nets just want them to fit in and be complementary pieces.

The Nets should be able to give Garnett and Pierce proper rest because of their additions of Jason Terry, Andrei Kirilenko and re-signing of Andray Blatche.

King also feels that first-year coach Jason Kidd will have an understanding of how Garnett and Pierce's minutes should be allotted because Kidd was an older veteran the last couple seasons, and ran out of gas by the time the Knicks' 2012-13 playoff run was over.

Making sure Garnett and Pierce come playoff time is important if the Nets are going to have a shot at dethroning the two-time defending champion Miami heat in the Eastern Conference playoffs.