There is no doubt that the Brooklyn Nets got older in their trade with the Boston Celtics. They did, after all, give up the 24-year-old MarShon Brooks and the 28-year-old Kris Humphries while getting back Kevin Garnett, 37, Jason Terry, 36 in September, and Paul Pierce, 36 in October.
The Nets head coach Jason Kidd said at Thursday’s introductory press conference that he would talk to his new trio about limiting their minutes next season as a result in order to keep them healthy and fresh for the playoffs.
“The best example, and I just sat in that seat for these young guys, is being able to keep their minutes down and understand the big picture,” Kidd explained.
Kidd also explained how it is a balancing act between keeping an eye on the playoffs and still trying to win as many regular season games as possible.
“At the same time, our job is to win ball games during the season,” he said. “Keep their minutes down, and (Nets general manager Billy King) has put together a roster that is deep. These guys don’t have to play 35-38 minutes a night. That’s the depth we have as a team. My job is to watch the clock and keep their minutes down. In doing that maybe they won’t play one night and we’ll talk about that as the summer goes on. The bigger picture is to keep these guys healthy going into the playoffs.”
Limiting guys minutes is one of the things that Kidd is going to have to do as a coach that he couldn’t do as a player no matter how many plays he drew up or how much he pushed guys at practice. It might be a little bit of a learning experience for him. It’s good that he acknowledges the big picture though as I feel like rookie coaches could be prone to lapsing on something like this.
All three players — Garnett, Pierce and Terry — all played fewer minutes on average last season than they have since their respective rookie seasons. Garnett averaged just 29.7 minutes per game, Pierce 33.4, and Terry 26.9. Pierce and Terry responded with higher average point totals in the playoffs. Garnett had slightly fewer points per game in the playoffs than he did in the regular season, but made up for that by dominating on the glass during the postseason as his total rebounds went from 7.8 per game in the regular season to 13.7 in the playoffs.
So this clearly looks like a smart move that Kidd is planning and with all of the depth he has, Garnett has Reggie Evans behind him and Pierce has Andrei Kirilenko backing him up, it’s a move the Nets can easily afford to make. That’s what people talk about when they say that these Nets are built for the playoffs.