Name: Kevin Garnett
Height: 6-foot-11 | Weight: 220-pounds
Age: 37 | Years in the NBA: 18
Contract: Two years and $24.4 million remaining
2012/13 Stats: 17.9 PTS, 9.4 TRB, 1.1 BLK per 36 minutes, 49.8 eFG%
OUTLOOK: Like Paul Pierce, Kevin Garnett wanted to retire a Celtic and he could have if he used his veto to void the trade with the Nets. However, he feels like he still has some basketball in him and wanted another shot at a ring so here he is in Brooklyn. He’s much older, he’s slower, he’s no longer a force on offense, but he brings with him a ton of leadership and will hold players accountable. That, and defense, is exactly what the Nets were looking for after they were embarrassed in their own house by the Bulls in Game 7 of the playoffs.
This season the Nets will look to Garnett to keep the players in line and there is hope that he will help mentor Brook Lopez and take him from a very good center to one of the best in the game. On the court, well he’ll be better than Kris Humphries and although his minutes will be limited in the regular season, he’ll be set loose in the playoffs.
WINNING IS ALL HE CARES ABOUT: Kevin Garnett needed to be convinced by Pierce to waive his no-trade clause, but even after that KG had some demands of his own. Specifically, Reggie Evans was initially included in the trade, but The Big Ticket insisted that he be removed otherwise he would have vetoed the deal. He’s serious about winning this thing and was only going to come here if he felt like he had a realistic chance.
BACK-TO-BACKS: The biggest controversy the Nets have had since the trade, if you can even call it controversy, is that Jason Kidd said that he wants to limit KG’s minutes by sitting him in back-to-back games. KG understands the reason, but doesn’t exactly want to go along with that. It’s likely the two will meet somewhere in between where KG will sit most back-to-backs and will probably play when needed or when he’s fresh enough to convince J-Kidd.
LIMITING MINUTES: In addition to not playing in back-to-backs, KG just doesn’t play as often as he used to. Last season he averaged just 29.7 minutes per game which is his lowest total in any year besides his rookie season. The idea is, again, to keep him fresh for the playoffs. Last year he upped his minutes per game to 35.3 in the playoffs. He hasn’t averaged that many per game in the regular season since 2006-07.
STILL STRONG ON D: I’ve seen people try to knock down Garnett defensively, and even there he’s not as good as he once was, but he is still tops in the league. He was worth 3.8 defensive win shares last season, good for 20th in the NBA overall, and the Celtics allowed 100 points per 100 possessions with him on the court and 109.4 without him. That represents the biggest difference by anybody on the current team. There is no doubt J-Kidd will look to him when he wants to tighten up defensively.
DON’T LOOK HERE FOR OFFENSE: Garnett still managed a solid 17.9 points per 36 minutes last season, which is good especially considering everything else he brings to the table, but he was actually a detriment to the Celtics offensively last year. When he was on the court Boston averaged 102.5 points per 100 possessions, but without him they averaged 105.8. That 3.3 point difference is easily overcome by his 9.4 point difference on defense though. Expect J-Kidd to go with Andray Blatche or Mirza Teletovic at the four this season when looking for more offense.
PREDICTION: Despite the fact that his numbers are down from his prime, KG has been pretty consistent overall over the last five years so I don’t expect much of a drop off from a year ago. He could even be re-energized with a new city and another shot at a title and out-play his numbers from a year ago. Realistically he is what he is though, a guy who provides defense and veteran leadership, but that needs regular rest. The biggest problem this season could be, because of his age, injuries. If he can avoid those he should have a solid and productive season.