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Monday, December 23, 2013
Starting Five: Who'll be KG's wingman?

By Mike Mazzeo

Who is going to start for the Brooklyn Nets next to Kevin Garnett in the frontcourt?

Let’s take a look at the options:

Mirza Teletovic: The stretch-four is a 41.4 percent shooter from 3-point range and certainly can stretch the defense. In Teletovic’s 313 minutes on the court, the Nets are scoring a whopping 110.1 points per 100 possessions, but they’re giving up 109.4. Teletovic’s all-around game certainly has improved, but he needs to make shots to be effective. Still, the Nets like him, and may decide to give him a shot.

Reggie Evans: Evans led the NBA in per 48 minute rebounding last season, but fell out of the rotation and has been stapled to the bench of late; he’s been a DNP-coach’s decision in four of the last six games. Evans’ PER is 4.98; the league average is 15. No sugarcoating things, it’s been a rough year. Still, the Nets are 28th in rebounding, and Evans provides that. Problem is, he’s an offensive liability. Brooklyn is averaging just 99.9 points per 100 possessions in the 236 minutes Evans has been on the floor. If the Nets decide they want to win ugly and not beat themselves because of their inability to rebound, Evans is their guy.

Andray Blatche: Blatche has the most talent of any of the options, but he’s been so good coming off the bench. He recently had a stretch of three straight 20-point games. It would be surprising if Nets coach Jason Kidd decided to mess with the rotation and elevate Blatche into the starting lineup.

Kidd will reveal his starters prior to Monday night’s game against the Indiana Pacers (21-5).

My guess: It’ll be either Teletovic or Evans. I honestly wouldn’t be surprised if it’s Evans. Eventually, Andrei Kirilenko may prove to be the best option. Kirilenko, who has missed 22 games due to back spasms, is “close” to returning to the lineup. He practiced Sunday, and would like to do so this week.

Question: Who would you start next to Garnett?

In case you missed it: GM Billy King is not about to make a panic trade to replace Lopez. Also, Kirilenko and Jason Terry returned to practice.

Stat of the day: The Nets are 2-7 without Lopez in the lineup this season. He will miss the next 56 games.

Up next: Nets vs. Pacers Monday night at Barclays Center.