Revitalize The Desire

Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images

When did Kevin Garnett become fun to watch again? Can this all be traced back to Quentin Richardson and his face’s attempts to lure KG’s elbow into it?

Since then, Garnett’s limp isn’t as noticeable, his play improved, his smack talk actually backed up and perhaps even slightly limited. This is the KG that we remember, or almost. He still doesn’t have all the quickness and may never, he doesn’t block shots with the same frequency and intensity as he did in Minnesota or his first year in Beantown.

But nonetheless, he is fun to watch again. For a while, his overly vulgar verbiage had grown worn. This was only more clear when his knee and age had diminished his play to something we would never associated with the Big Ticket. It was as if he knew he couldn’t play the same, so he resorted to mental tactics to throw his man off of his game and in the process lost a lot of the charm he had accrued. This is why the Champ hasn’t been fond of Garnett since he arrived in Boston. That, and his “undying” devotion to LeBron’s Cavaliers.

Every cutaway shot on TNT or ESPN involved a slow-motion replay of Garnett mouthing various f-bombs and other profane comments, which is fine with me but it was as if he was compensating. With KG, I have gone from happy for him, sad for him, slightly pissed off at him, and now again happy for him.

His interviews are fun and funny again, he isn’t playing with a chip surgically attached to his shoulder anymore, and he has seemingly graciously eased into a supporting role with no hesitation. Maybe it is his realization that he is a mere mortal who has only a few good years left, so he lets Rondo run the show and set him up with good looks/opportunities.

KG really was LeBron before LeBron was LeBron. Now we see he toiled away his youth and prime in Minnesota, bringing teams that weren’t as good as they performed to places they had no business being. His best teams consisted of himself, an old Latrell Sprewell, and an old and creepy Sam Cassell. At the time, we thought this a good team, until they ran into the Lakers that had Kobe, Shaq, Payton, and Malone.

He performed at an MVP level for nearly a decade and was still getting the blame for not lifting Minnesota (who, remember, had virtually no legitimate talent. Seriously, Wally Szczerbiak should not be the second highest scorer on a contending team) to that championship level when he first had to go through Kobe and Shaq’s Lakers, Duncan’s Spurs, and Nowitzki’s and Nash’s and Finley’s Mavericks. That seems downright stupid now, but at the time he was the guy who couldn’t win it (Kevin Gar-not has Skip Bayless had taken to calling him). Or maybe, instead of being LeBron, he may have been closer to Chris Bosh but with the ability to lift teams like LeBron.

Then he was traded to Boston and everyone saw just how valuable he was still. Minnesota was going down with Garnett but the trade may have been a knockout punch for that team because they still haven’t recovered. Boston immediately became contenders with the help of Ray Allen, but not because of three-point shooting but because of suffocating defense. Garnett was the catalyst, barking out orders and covering up the blemishes his teammates had.

All of the sudden Paul Pierce was an adequate defender, this seems a bit questionable. They obviously won that championship and after that is when this whole KG needing to be redeemed thing happened. And I don’t understand why this Celtics team, or the previous incarnation before Rondo took over officially, was seen as Pierce’s team. Garnett brought the defense and attitude of win-at-all-costs. Garnett was the guy who teammates turned to for help. Pierce may have taken the shots, but he played on a lot of Boston teams that were straight garbage and he wasn’t able to take them anywhere.

Now he has helped Boston back into prominence, two games away from a second trip to the Finals. He has helped Boston turn into a team that is okay to watch and root for again.

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