Sunday, June 03, 2012

Kevin Garnett Being Kevin Garnett

The first round of the 1995 NBA Draft produced some very good players, some solid players, and quite a few unforgettable players.

It also produced Kevin Garnett.  There is no other player like KG.

After the Warriors took Joe Smith with the top pick, Antonio McDyess (Clippers, traded to Nuggets), Jerry Stackhouse (76ers), and Rasheed Wallace (Bullets/Wizards) were the next three picks.  All four players had good careers but none made the impact that the fifth pick made on the NBA.

His averages of 19.3 points per game and 10.6 rebounds per game don't even come close to telling the entire story of a Hall of Fame career.  Neither do the 14 All-Star Games, 9 All-NBA teams, 12 All-NBA Defensive teams, 4 rebounding titles, the 2003 All-Star Game MVP, the 2004 MVP, 2008 Defensive Player of the Year, or his 2008 championship with the Celtics.

What defines Garnett, what his leagacy will be, is his passion.  No one plays harder than Garnett.  No one leaves more of himself on the court.  No one brings more intensity to the floor.

(While he might not bring more, Tim Duncan brings just as much passion, effort, and - although it's not as loud as KG's - intensity.  Duncan will go down, rightfully so, as the better player because of his four titles but the fact that their careers have taken place in the same era is a bonus for basketball fans.)

Garnett is once again giving his all to get the Celtics another title.  He is turning back the clock and playing like he is 26, not 36.  His rebounding, defense, and shooting have been important but even more important is his presence.  When he is playing good, the rest of the Celtics usually fall in line and that is why they are on the cusp of a third trip to the NBA Finals in his five years in Boston depite relying on the likes of Mickael Pietrus, Keyon Dooling, Greg Stiemsma, and Ryan Hollins as the team's bench and Ray Allen running around on two bad ankles.

(Yes, Rajon Rondo is sharing honors with Garnett for why the C's are in the Eastern Finals - if I was running Team USA, Rondo would be a lock to play in London this summer - and Paul Pierce has been good too.  However, KG is the only Celtic over 6-8 who belongs in a playoff game and that responsibility is on his shoulders every night.)

Whether or not the Celtics win this series or the championship, Garnett has let the basketball world know that he is still a force in this league and has cemented his legacy as one of the greatest forwards in NBA history.

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