Friday , Oct , 05 , 2007 Oly Sandor

Utah Jazz Owner Plays Peacemaker, Calls Andrei Kirilenko A Top 10 NBA Player

Miller also described Kirilenko as a top NBA player. Again, I disagree. The stat-stuffing forward excels at the international game. But he’s not an elite NBA baller. He never has been …

Utah owner Larry Miller updates the Andrei Kirilenko situation:

In an interview on KFNZ-AM, Miller said that during the meeting with Sloan and general manager Kevin O’Connor, Kirilenko said he would accept Sloan’s criticism as long as Sloan was willing to offer equal amounts of praise, according to the report.

"It is incumbent on Jerry to make a reasonable adjustment. That’s not to say kiss his butt," said Miller, according to the Tribune. Miller also called Kirilenko "one of the 10 best players in the league."

My Quick Take: Has Larry Miller gone soft? What happened to the outspoken owner who used to publicly joust with players?

Jokes aside, I can appreciate what Miller is doing. One of his employees, Kirilenko, is unhappy. And he’s trying to bring the Russian back in the fold. I just disagree with how he’s doing it.

Successful players and coaches have to be who they are. Sloan has become one of the NBA’s best coaches because he holds players to account. This is his trademark. He can’t be touchy-feely. It’s not who he is.

Miller also described as a top NBA player. Again, I disagree. The stat-stuffing forward excels at the international game. But he’s not an elite NBA baller. He never has been.

Most importantly, Kirilenko will never get the chance with ‘s offense featuring , Mehmet Okur, and Deron Williams. Kirilenko’s secondary role, of course, was the source of his frustration.

And Miller’s comments could come back to haunt the team. Kirilenko and his agent can point to the owner’s statement if Sloan blows up on or benches the forward. Oh well, at least Miller’s trying.

Do you see Kirilenko as a top-ten NBA player? Get at us in the comment box below with your thoughts.

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