Bauman: Kevin Garnett has come full circle

Here is the video:

Yet for all the scoring he’s done over his career, all the monster performances he’s managed to rack up, he’s still that same old kid who loves to pass, takes pride in his defense and hustling and ball-handling ability that he nurtured from a young age.

“I wasn’t always tall growing up,” KG said softly during the Bobcats pregame. “I was just kind of bigger than the other kids. Obviously in AAU it was different. In the summer you would see kids who were the same size. I would just kind of handle the ball. I would get up early in the mornings and just dribble and as I got older I just continued to keep that skill with me. Dribbling used to do something for my mind for some reason. It was like reading a book; I could get lost in dribbling and before you knew it I went up three blocks and wouldn’t even know where I was. I don’t know people here, what everybody uses to get away; some people use drawing, some people read a book. Me, I would just take my ball and get lost in the neighborhood so it was kind of like my therapy, if you will. So I don’t know, I just never lost that skill. I just kind of inadvertently never lost it.”

So, despite being just 14 points shy of catching, you’ll still see Kevin Garnett go through stretches like this one in the 2nd quarter against Charlotte:

11:26 – Garnett all-glass layup attempt from the right side without a lot of pressure; bad miss.
10:37 – Right place, right time for steal, trails break, catches at left elbow, misses wide open 16-foot jumper.
10:22 – Next play Garnett catches at same spot, sharply swings to Jeff Green, who knocks down 23-foot 3-point jumper from left side.
9:27 – Defense pays attention to a rolling KG, Sullinger comes off of him for open 17-foot jumper at the top of the key.
7:28 – KG screens for Jeff Green, who knocks down the 3-pointer from the right corner.
7:01 – Defensive rebound, trails floor, Jeff Green slices to hoop for throwdown.
6:00 – Garnett hand-off, screen for Pierce, who catches and hits rolling KG with a bounce pass… KG flagranted by Gerald Henderson and Garnett pops up talking mess; vintage KG!
5:48 – KG makes 1-2 from FT line.
2:46 – KG offensive rebound and kick-out. Cuts off of a back-screen from the right side across the paint. Catches the ball, posts up, turns and faces the rim, and then tries to thread needle to cutting Rondo, ball deflected out…
2:31 – On the inbounds he screens for Pierce, catches ball in corner, swings to Pierce on the wing. Pierce swings the ball up top to a guard. Garnett moves toward the wing, gets it back and considers shooting with shot clock winding down, but makes pass with 2 seconds left to Pierce, who missed the shot.
1:17 – Garnett takes a few dribbles, passes diagonally to Avery Bradley in the right corner  (AB loves the corners) for a 3-pointer. The cross-court pass barely skates by a Bobcats defender’s fingertips.
Did you notice anything about the above plays? How about KG taking only three (quality) shots, but looking nearly uncomfortable shooting the ball. It was as if he was concentrating so much on everything else, so immersed in the moment of trying to help his team win the game in any way possible, that he didn’t concentrate on scoring to the point we’ve come used to seeing Kevin operate at.

“He’s one of those types of guys that can impact the game without scoring a bucket,” explained Hakim Warrick, who accounted for Garnett for stretches on Monday. “Whether its playing defense or passing on a shot or just talking out there on defense, he’s a veteran guy and you always have to account for him. That’s another thing: Even when he’s not scoring, you still have to account for him.”

“He’s just terrific, he’s such a great passer,” said Doc Rivers, the Celtics head coach, during postgame on Monday. “That’s why it’s so hard to zone us – so hard to trap us – because of his passing and shooting abilities. That’s the two keys that if you’re a big guy and you’re at that elbow or that high post and you throw it to that guy, if you can shoot they have to guard you and that’s why you see the cuts underneath [by teammates]. A lot of times the big drops back but you can’t do that with Kevin. It just gives us another passer, another weapon.”

As KG passes Ewing tonight, Jerry West in a month and Reggie Miller on the all-time scoring list by the end of the season, try not to think about KG as a scorer.

Consider the below info, via Mike Dyer at

“With 32 more assists, Garnett will pass Sleepy Floyd for 50th on the NBA’s all-time assist leader board (5,144). This is important, because Garnett already ranks in the top 50 in rebounds (12th – 13,566), points (17th – 24,802), steals (18th – 1,702) and blocks (19th – 1,937). As you can see, not only is he top 50 in those categories, he’s in the top 20 in all 4.

Since the NBA started tracking steals and blocks in 1972-73, no player has accumulated enough of each of the five categories to rank in the top 50. And even going back into the pre-steal/block era, the only player who may have had a chance is Oscar Robertson who easily cracked the top 50 in points, rebounds and assists, and in his prime was known as an above average defensive player.

Think about Kevin Garnett as one of the most well-rounded players we’ve ever seen. Think about Garnett for not just his trash talking but also his ability to control a game of basketball with his sheer will.

Perhaps Garnett summed up the importance – or lack thereof – regarding passing Patrick Ewing …

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