And now, the starting Power Forward for your Boston Celtics...
KEVIN GARNETT !!!
by FreshInThe House
Kevin Garnett's first year in Boston was filled with a mixture of emotions. It started with the shock of his arrival. This was soon followed with the trepidation that came with the huge expectations that were mounted on a team that hadn't played one game together. And at the end the season, moments after Boston won their first championship in over twenty years, KG encapsulated the feelings of Celtics fans coast to coast with his euphoric meltdown during the postgame interview.
Season two started with Celtics players in fans in a position they weren't familiar with--defending champions. KG bore this title with pride, becoming more intemidating on the court than ever, leading some NBA talking heads to call him a bully. Beside a small hiccup at mid-season, the Celtics were in fine form, and look to be in prime shape to defend there title. This all changed on February 19th when KG injured his right knee while playing against the Utah Jazz. While the Celtics' management tried to maintain an optimistic view, besides a few games towards the end of the season, KG's season--and the Celtics' title hopes--were over.
We are now entering Kevin Garnett's third season as a Boston Celtic. The new car smell is gone, replaced with the comfort that comes with reliability. We know that KG can be counted on to score a very efficient 15+ points a game, gobble up 8 to 10 rebounds a game, hand out 3 to 4 assists a game, and fill up the steal and block columns in a way that few 30-somethings have ever done.
But if the last two years have shown Celtics' fans anything, it's that you can't guage KG's importance to this team by his stat line. KG is not just a premier defensive player, he is the face of this team's commitment to D. KG molded this team's defensive image into his own image, and his intensity on the defensive end spread throughout the team, making average defenders good (Ray Allen), and good defenders great (Paul Pierce). WIth KG leading the way, the 07-08 Celtics became on of the best defensive teams in NBA history.
If 07-08 showed everyone what the Celtics were capable without KG, the 08-09 play-offs displayed what the Celtics are without KG: an above average team that may make some noise in the play-offs, but is not a serious threat to win it all.
This season, the core of the 07-08 team returns with a healthy Garnett, plus newly-signed Rasheed Wallace. This group has proven it has what it takes to win a title. But for most of the key components of this team, time is not on there side. KG is no exception to this. While his age (33) is not too much of worry, his minutesare. Going into this season, KG ranks 23rd all time in minutes played. He only has a handful of seasons left to play at this high of level. That is why the 09-10 Celtics have to do everything they can to win it all this year. And with KG leading the way, dedication and intensity shouldn't be a problem.