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Wednesday, July 16, 2014
Pierce's exit means opportunity for some

By Mike Mazzeo

Paul Pierce’s departure means opportunity for other players on the Brooklyn Nets next season. Let’s take a look at five Nets who could have a greater impact in 2014-15.

Mason Plumlee: Plumlee continued where he left off last season during Summer League, showing his explosiveness and athleticism. The hope is that Plumlee will take another positive step forward, improving his rebounding and defense. Perhaps he'll be able to add the threat of a jump shot to his offensive arsenal, which mostly included efficient scoring in the paint -- mostly via dunks. With Brook Lopez coming off foot and ankle surgery and Kevin Garnett likely playing in his 20th NBA season, Plumlee should get plenty of minutes. Maybe he’ll even start.

Mirza Teletovic: Teletovic made quite the jump in his second year in the NBA. He didn’t play much early on, but got his opportunity as a result of injuries to some of his teammates. He took full advantage, shooting with confidence and displaying a swagger on the floor. Teletovic figures to be a nice asset for Hollins to have at his disposal.

Andrei Kirilenko: Kirilenko’s first season with the Nets was derailed by injuries in 2013-14. His playing time was inconsistent. But if he’s healthy, Kirilenko seems like a Lionel Hollins kind of player. He’s very versatile and capable of playing and guarding multiple positions. Kirilenko is an excellent facilitator and seems to always get his hands on the ball. He likes to wreak havoc on the court. You’d think he’ll have a more expansive role in 2014-15.

Bojan Bogdanovic: The key here is patience. Expectations should be tempered. The 25-year-old will likely need an adjustment period as he transitions from the European game to the NBA. If he does, he’ll be another floor-spacing threat. As Cotton Fitzsimmons told Hollins, “You can never have too many shooters.”

Alan Anderson: Anderson should provide solid depth and toughness, along with D-and-3 ability. He’s another Hollins-type player. It will be interesting to see where Anderson figures into the rotation, given that Hollins has so many options. Still, Anderson is a veteran, so you have to figure Hollins will utilize him in different situations.