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Archive for the tag “Kevin Garnett”

Kevin Garnett’s sequel in Minnesota could be longer than expected

KG is back in Minnesota, where it all began. (photo courtesy of

KG is back in Minnesota, where it all began. (photo courtesy of

In 1995, the Minnesota Timberwolves had no face of their franchise. They were a franchise that had no semblance of success and no one could see anything happening in their future. A decision had to be made. What were the Timberwolves to do? Who would lead them forward in their quest to become more relevant? The Timberwolves had plenty of talents to choose from, but they went with probably the most unproven player in the NBA Draft. Coming out of high school, Kevin Garnett was a monster. He was very slight of build, but he could run the court like a guard and he could finish at the rim. He just oozed talent from his pores. Garnett would take advantage of the early entry rule where he could leave out of high school and enter the draft. And his talent caught the eye of the Timberwolves as the one to lead them into the future. The Timberwolves selected Garnett with their fifth pick in the draft and the franchise then was changed. Although some were not sure of what Kevin would be, he came in and showed them what he could be. Garnett would go on to make Minnesota a perennial playoff for a stretch of time (from the 1996-1997 season to the 2003-2004 season). But towards the end of his time in Minnesota, it seemed as if the Timberwolves were struggling to put anything around him and they were not winning basketball games. And as they struggled to win games, it seemed that Garnett became frustrated with his situation in Minnesota. Although never confirmed, it was rumored behind the scenes that Garnett was not happy and wanted to leave. And after missing the playoffs for three years in Minnesota, it finally happened. He was traded to Minnesota in offseason before the 2007 season and the Garnett era was over just like that. And along with the trade of Garnett, so also left the chances of Minnesota ever having a chance to make the playoffs anytime soon.

As of right now, the Timberwolves have not made the playoffs since Garnett was traded in the 2007 season. Although the Timberwolves have tried to make it happen with players like Kevin Love, Al Jefferson, Kevin Martin and countless others over the past eight years, they just have never seemed to make it happen. Meanwhile, Kevin Garnett has had some success in his career after Minnesota. Garnett won a title in his first season in Boston and Doc Rivers always had his team, which consisted of Garnett being teamed with two other Hall Of Famers, Paul Pierce and Ray Allen, consistently in the thick of things in the NBA’s Eastern Conference. Eventually the Celtics broke up the team and Garnett was traded with Pierce to the Brooklyn Nets. And as time went on in Brooklyn, it was evident that age was catching up to Garnett. The Nets began to cut his minutes last season and this season as well. The young players like big man Mason Plumlee were the ones taking the majority of the time on the court while Garnett was getting token starts and sitting most of the game. The Nets were in contention to make the playoffs potentially in the East this season, but Garnett and the Nets got wind of a trade that could send him back to Minnesota. And of course Garnett accepted the trade. The deal sent Garnett back to Minnesota and sent Minnesota forward Thaddeus Young to the Nets. Garnett was back home and it was thought that he would retire after this season and end his great career. But Garnett, despite only playing five games for the Timberwolves after the trade, has other plans.

It is being reported that Garnett is leaning towards being active for the 2015-2016 season, making it 21 years he has been in the NBA. That is an incredible achievement and should be applauded. But looking at Garnett, you have to wonder what he even has left in the tank. He was out with injuries most of this season with the Nets and Timberwolves and even when he did play he was not playing that many minutes. The veteran forward should go out the way he wants to go out, but there has to be concern as to him playing another season in Minnesota. Although he is a free agent after this season, it is assumed that he will be in Minnesota next season. The Timberwolves need a veteran presence, but not one that will be counterproductive to helping their current big men grow. As it looks in their rotation, you have big men like Gorgui Dieng, Anthony Bennett and Adreian Payne along with veteran Nikola Pekovic there. Adding Garnett to that rotation would mean a crowded frontcourt and that’s not even factoring in the Timberwolves adding another big man potentially if they get the 1st or 2nd pick in this draft. It’s nice that Garnett is coming back, but that will create more issues for this team if Garnett is starting and takes minutes from the youngsters developing. This Minnesota team needs more developing and there are young. That means that no winning will be happening anytime soon and that is what Garnett must get used to. He has been a great player over his career, but now he can look forward to ending his career in obscurity and with a losing team at that.

The best ending for Garnett would have been to retire after this season and potentially become an assistant coach or take a front office job with the Timberwolves. His head coach currently, Flip Saunders, is also a member of the front office and almost assuredly would give the franchise’s greatest player a job with the team. And besides a job with the front office, he could be the guy that helps get these young Timberwolves ready and work with them everyday in practice. That would go a long way in helping the team get back to the playoffs or at least in contention. But instead, Garnett is going to play again and further damage his legacy. He is worn down and the tread on his tires is thin. The end has come for Garnett and he has earned the right to go out on his own terms. But he also has to be mindful that his skills are diminished and he is not the same as he used to be. The Big Ticket is no more and maybe the The Big Mentor should be his nickname because that will be his best contribution for this team next season.

Changing The Age Limit To 20 Would Be A Good Move By The NBA

Adam Silver Adam Silver has officially taken over as the new NBA commissioner. And one thing he has immediately mentioned is the age limit in the NBA. Silver has mentioned that he would like to change the age limit in the NBA from 19 to 20 years of age. This rule would effectively make it where kids would have to stay in college for two seasons after graduating high school. Of course this rule has been met by some pushback from some fans of the game. But overall, this rule would be excellent for the NBA.

Over the years, the NBA has become a league where offenses have become hard to watch. Some of that can be attributed to the specialization of the game these days. But a lot of blame lies on the development (or non-development) of players when they enter the NBA. More often than not, we see players enter the NBA that are not physically or developmentally ready to play. As a result, players tend to either sit on the bench while they develop, play before they are even ready or get sent down to the D-League. In some instances, this works out. But in other instances, the underdevelopment of a players leads to a quick exit from the NBA. By allowing the kids to stay in school for a minimum of two years, this could let them develop more and also would help produce a better product on the floor in terms of developed players.

Another good positive would be reflected in the salary cap for teams. A lot of times, teams draft these players without them being able to be contributors right away. That leads to money being tied up in players that will not help your team. With a two-year minimum, it decreases the chances of having underdeveloped players tie up salary. That would allow teams to have more money to get that veteran that may be the missing piece to their championship run. Or for teams with lower expectations, it would be a chance to make the playoffs with a good piece they would be able to add.

We witnessed LeBron James, Kobe Bryant, Kevin Garnett and Tracy McGrady enter the NBA right out of high school and many feel that should be what the league allows. All four have had successful careers in the NBA. But for all the success these four had, some tend to forget the stories of guys like Korleone Young and James Lang. Young was considered one of the top high school players in America as a senior at Hargrave Military Academy in Virginia. The 6’7” small forward was thought to be one of the top picks taken in the 1998 NBA Draft. Unfortunately, things did not work out for Young the way he wanted them to. He was drafted 40th in the NBA Draft by the Detroit Pistons, only to play three games and be cut by the team. Young never played in the NBA again. Lang was a 2003 high school All-American and he felt he was good enough to take his talents to the NBA. Apparently, NBA teams did not think as good about him as he did himself. Lang was drafted with the 48th pick by New Orleans but he was waived by the team after he was deemed to not have shown ability to be on the active roster by GM Bob Bass. After a couple of 10-day contacts and some D-League stints, Lang was eventually out of chances to prove himself. Both Lang and Young were talented kids, but there were underdeveloped and maybe by going to college they could have developed more skill to hang around longer in the NBA. But instead, they are now nowhere to be seen on the NBA scene. Allowing the college option to be there would be great for some kids because some will find out that they were not as ready as they originally thought they were. And with that, they could start to work on parts of their game that could get them ready.

Ultimately, I believe this rule will be put in place. It helps not only the NBA but college basketball. And maybe with this rule, we can get back to a less watered-down product on the court in college and the NBA. In the end, it’s about having a kid be prepared for life along with the spoils of the NBA and college can help that kid prepare for both at the same time.

For more sports talk, follow me on Twitter @General_MP or come visit my Facebook page Mike Patton-The General .

With The New Additions, Can The Pacers And Nets Knock The Miami Heat Off Their Throne?

(Photo via Getty Images)

(Photo via Getty Images)

The Miami Heat are the reigning champions. They escaped sure defeat in Game 6 on the heroics of LeBron James and Ray Allen to come up with another championship. The veteran Spurs just could not muster enough to win in Game 7 as the Heat pulled away in the end. But going into next year, the Heat will not only have competition from the West but from teams in their own conference. Looking at the Heat as the barometer, the Indiana Pacers and the Brooklyn Nets made some interesting changes to bolster their team. But is it enough for them to beat the Heat come playoff time?

The Pacers pushed the Heat to the brink last season in the Eastern Conference Finals. But in Game 7, their youth showed up as point guard George Hill and wing player Paul George disappeared at the wrong time. The one thing the Pacers had that damaged the Heat a lot last postseason was their post game. Big men Roy Hibbert and David West were hitting the Heat with body blow after body blow and the Heat could not do anything with them. But the one thing that hurt the Pacers inside was they did not have that third big man to give the Heat problems. Well, the Pacers think they have resolved that issue. According to Yahoo! Sports, the Pacers have acquired veteran forward Luis Scola and sent forward Miles Plumblee, guard Gerald Green and a protected 2014 1st round draft pick to Phoenix. This move, along with the re-insertion of sharpshooter Danny Granger and swing forward Chris Copeland, makes the Pacers a stronger offensive team while still retaining the toughness that they are known for. Imagine if they would have had Scola, Copeland, Lance Stephenson and veteran point guard CJ Watson coming off the bench. They would have been even tougher last year.

But with the additions, the Pacers are still missing a lead guard to initiate the offense. George Hill is good, but he is not a point guard. And we all saw what happened with him at point guard when the pressure picked up against Miami. His uneven play cost them big time. They don’t necessarily need a star point guard, but a guard that won’t turn the ball over in crucial times. And other than Hill, the only other guy that can initiate that offense is the newly acquired Watson. If the Pacers could rely on a guy like Granger or Paul George to initiate the offense, then maybe they would be fine with Hill (who is really an undersized shooting guard) playing the point. But because of no solid addition at the point guard spot, the reservations are still there about the championship aspirations of this team. For the Pacers’ sake, they better hope Hill has learned from last year and will be better when the pressure comes his way.

In Brooklyn, the thirst of Nets owner Mikhail Prokhorov for a championship is real. And to quench his thirst to make the Nets a serious contender, he has thrown money and caution to the wind. The Nets made a trade that brought them veterans Paul Pierce, Kevin Garnett and Jason Terry from the Boston Celtics. Immediately the expectations of the team went through the roof as some touted them as the biggest contender to the Heat. The starting lineup they now boast will be Garnett and Pierce at the forwards, Joe Johnson and Deron Williams at the guard spots and Brook Lopez at center. But not only will they have those guys starting for them, the Nets re-signed backup big Andray Blatche, signed forward Andrei Kirlenko to backup Paul Pierce, brought in guard/forward Allan Anderson to backup Joe Johnson along with having the aforementioned Jason Terry to backup Deron Williams. This team has all the tools to make a run.

But one thing that has to be looked at is the age of their key additions. Paul Pierce has been an incredible player for Boston his whole career, but over that time he has broken down. Injuries have taken away some of his explosiveness and with that, some of his effectiveness as a player. Signing Kirlenko was a good thing, but if he is playing more than Pierce when it really counts, then the Nets basically wasted money to bring him in. Another thing that may be an issue with Pierce is how he fits in Brooklyn. After being in Boston so long and becoming a legend there, how will playing in a new city for a new team for the first time in his career affect him? It could be excellent, but it could also be something that goes like Joe Namath when he played for the Los Angeles Rams. Kevin Garnett has been very durable during his entire career, but last year he started to show signs of breaking down. He ended up missing 14 games last season and he also had the lowest rebound and point totals of his career last postseason. Garnett brings intensity and passion when he plays, but what happens when your body is telling you that it cannot produce like it used to? It seems like in the case of Garnett and Pierce they are battling two enemies: the Heat (as the defending champions) and Father Time. The Nets will need these two to be at their best to win the East. We shall see if they can get it going when the time is right.

Both squads made perceived improvements. But in the end, it is still in question whether it is enough to defeat the Heat.

Follow me on Twitter @General_MP or hit me up on Facebook at Mike Patton The General for more conversations on sports and other things.

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