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:
“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.
“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 …