100 days of hoops, hardwood

100 Days of Hoop 47: From Russia with Love

Andre Kirilenko was one of the most versatile players of his generation of NBA athletes and the first-ever Russian taken in the first round of the NBA Draft when he was selected by the Utah Jazz with the 24th pick in 1999. AK47, as he was called, had built up quite the resume to earn himself the first round selection by going pro at just 15 years-old back in Mother Russia. Kirilenko would go on to win the Russian League’s MVP award in 2000 before joining the NBA and the Jazz in the 2001 season. Following his rookie campaign, Kirilenko was named to the All-Rookie First Team. AK47’s ability to guard virtually any player on the floor made him one of the very best defenders in the league, earning him three selections to the NBA’s All-Defensive Team in  2004, 2005, and 2006. He led the league in blocks per game in the 2004-05 with 3.3 blocks a night. He led the NBA in total blocks during the 2005-06 season. In 2003-04, he his 1.9 steals per game was fourth most in the league.

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