Andrei Kirilenko says he is not not concentrating on winning the NBA championship right now as the Brooklyn Nets seek to recover sufficiently from a woeful opening to the 2014 season.
The Nets, who are coached by legendary point guard Jason Kidd, were expected to provide a significant challenge to the Miami Heat and Indiana Pacers at the summit of the Eastern Conference this year after adding the likes of former All-Star duo Kevin Garnett and Paul Pierce to an impressive core of players that already included Deron Williams, Brook Lopez and Joe Johnson.
However, things didn't quite go to plan during the opening months of Kidd's reign, with the future Hall of Famer coming under increased scrutiny as a mix of injury woes and poor form saw his team - along with cross-city rivals, the New York Knicks - struggle badly far below .500.
The Nets have had a far better start to the new year, however, with an impressive run of seven wins in eight games that included a 127-110 dismantling of the Atlanta Hawks in London last week and a similarly emphatic - not to mention morale-boosting - 103-80 triumph over the struggling Knicks at Madison Square Garden on Monday night.
However, despite Brooklyn's upturn in fortunes, Russian Kirilenko, who joined the Nets during the summer after opting out of the final year of his contract with the Minnesota Timberwolves, appears to be remaining realistic and cautious after such a putrid start.
"We had very high expectations before this season and the first two months were pretty rough for us. But right now we are getting better and moving in the right direction," the 32-year-old told GiveMeSport during a media session prior to Thursday's win at the 02 Arena.
"I wouldn't concentrate on winning the Championship right now. I would concentrate on, you know, getting quality and bringing quality to our game - finding and getting more consistent with the game.
"Our final goal is of course the Championship but, you know, when we concentrate on the championship before just winning simple games it is the wrong thing to do and I like to set out the smaller goals rather than thinking about something like up there. It's step-by-step."
Moving forward, Kirilenko - who spent a decade with the Utah Jazz between 2011-11 - evidently doesn't believe that the Nets require any additions to ensure that they are able to achieve their goals.
"I think we are very happy with everyone we have right now. It's a process to bring another guy to the team and get him adjusted again. I think everybody we have in the team right now are very capable of playing a significant role in our game," he said.
"I think Mason Plumlee is doing a great job as a rookie. You know, KG is playing the center position and I think our team is pretty complete. I don't think we need anybody.
"Again, any man can help but so far I think the best team we have right now is capable of being in the playoffs and fighting with any team to get a win."
Following that win over the Knicks, the Nets occupy seventh spot in the East with a record of 17-22. Their quest to reach .500 continues on Tuesday night as they host Victor Oladipo and the Orlando Magic at Barclays Center.
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