The Big Ticket: Kevin Garnett


Growing up, my favorite power forward was Kevin Garnett. Garnett can play on the block, shoot the mid-range consistently, occasionally shoot the 3, rebound, block shots, pass, hustle after loose balls, and ignite his teammates and the stadium with his passion. I personally liked him more than Tim Duncan, but I never denied the greatness of the Big Fundamental. I was just drawn to Garnett’s passion for the game.

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Image result for kevin garnett passion
Before being traded to Boston after the 2007 season, I really feel that Kevin Garnett was underappreciated in the “Twin Cities”. During his first 12 years with Minnesota, Kevin Garnett and the Timberwolves only made it out the first round one time (2004) with Latrell Sprewell and Sam Cassell, who were both past their primes. The Big Ticket’s wingman for majority of his time in Minnesota was Wally Szczerbiak. KG and Stephon Marbury could’ve been a superb dynamic duo for years to come, but Marbury’s ego and jealousy of Garnett’s stature ended the partnership before it had a chance to take off. Kevin never complained about the lack of talent that the organization put around him (and believe me, they didn’t help him at all). He brought out the best of his teammates and made the best of the situations during his first tenure with Minnesota.

Seeing KG in a Boston Celtics uniform was weird initially, but playing along side future hall of famers Paul Pierce and Ray Allen helped solidify his legacy as an all-time great. Getting over the hump and winning a championship against the Lakers, an organization that has tormented him his first 12 years, brought everything full circle.

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Kevin Garnett is a 15 time NBA All-star, 9 time NBA All-Defensive first team, 4 time All-NBA first team, MVP back in 2004, NBA Champion in 2008 w/ Boston Celtics, all-time Minnesota Timberwolves leading scorer, was Illinois Mr Basketball, McDonald’s All-America game MVP, and Mr. Basketball USA in 1995, and has career averages of 17.8 ppg, 10.0 rpg, and 3.7 apg. He was been apart of the NBA for majority of his life. Garnett was able to stay relevant for 2 decades (not many have ever achieved that).

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During the 1997-98 season, Kevin Garnett signed a contract extension for 6 years, 126 million, which was unprecedented at the time. This contract, was not the cause of the NBA to be locked out the following season, it basically established the salary cap in the NBA. KG was a rare talent that just wanted to win and was willing to put everything on the line game in and game out. Garnett will potentially be apart of a hall of fame class in 2021 that will consist of Kobe Bryant, Tim Duncan and himself. Together they have a total of 48 NBA All-star appearances, 11 NBA Championships and 4 league MVP awards.

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Now that his career has come to an end, we will forever remember the moments that he left us, especially saying “ANYTHING IS POSSIBLE!!!!!!” when they defeated in the Lakers in 2008 for the NBA title. Whenever Kevin Garnett laced them up, he was going to give you everything he had. That plus his passion is the reason they called him “The Big Ticket”.

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JGood

NBA Preview Part 1: Atlantic Division


Atlantic Division

Boston Celtics
Key Additions: Amir Johnson, David Lee, Jonas Jerebko, Tony Rozier, R.J. Hunter, Jordan Mickey, Perry Jones
Key Subtractions: Brandon Bass, Gerald Wallace
Outlook: Nobody expected the Boston Celtics to win 40 games last season, let alone make the playoffs as the 7th seed. Brad Stevens deserves the majority of the credit for getting the best out of  his young core. Adding all-star caliber talent David Lee gives the Celtics a post presence along with Jared Sullinger, and he provides NBA Champion experience to a highly, young, inexperienced team. This team is far from the Boston Celtics teams from the late 2000’s. Only time will tell if this group will take a step forward in the right direction. They are certainly hungry enough to do so.

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Brooklyn Nets
Key Additions: Rondae Hollis-Jefferson, Chris McCullough, Steve Blake, Thomas Robinson
Key Subtractions: Deron Williams, Mason Plumlee, Mirza Teletovic
Outlook: The Brooklyn Nets have started the rebuilding process a year ago when Paul Pierce departed for Washington. They traded Kevin Garnett back to Minnesota at the trade deadline. The Nets bought out Deron Williams this summer and eventually signed with Dallas. Then they resigned Brook Lopez and Thaddeus Young while keeping Joe Johnson. Brooklyn’s identity is as unknown as their roster. The roster is talented enough to make a playoff run, but it will all depend on their chemistry. Personally, I believe they should continue the rebuilding process. I don’t expect much from them this year, but they are still the best team from New York.

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New York Knicks
Key Additions: Robin Lopez, Kristaps Porzingas, Aaron Afflalo, Derrick Williams, Jerian Grant, Kevin Seraphin, Kyle O’Quinn
Key Subtractions: Tim Hardaway Jr., Cole Aldrich, Jason Smith, Shane Larkin, Quincy Acy
Outlook: And then you have the New York Knicks (shaking my head). As questionable as picking Kristaps Porzingas as their lottery pick back in June, I believe Phil Jackson has a plan. It remains to be seen if Carmelo Anthony is a part of that plan. The Knicks struck out in the past summer’s free agency while continuing to pay Anthony a huge chunk of their payroll. He claims he wants to win a title in New York but by the time the Knicks will become a legitimate contender again, Melo will be beyond his prime. The most you can expect out of the Knicks this upcoming season is for Carmelo Anthony to put fans in the seats and maybe a 50 point game down the line.

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Philadelphia 76’ers
Key Additions: Jahlil Okafor, Nik Stauskas, Carl Landry, Scottie Wilbekin, Gerald Wallace
Key Subtractions: Thomas Robinson, Luc Richard Mbah a Moute, Henry Sims, Ish Smith, Jason Richardson
Outlook: After the uncertainty of the future of Joel Embiid, the Philadelphia 76’ers have drafted a big man for their 3rd consecutive time in the lottery. Jahlil Okafor will make an impact out the gate. I believe he is the most NBA-ready player in the 2015 draft class. With that being said, the 76’ers are FAR from contending for the postseason. This season more than likely will be a wash but at least they unlimited draft picks in the new couple of drafts (okay maybe not unlimited draft picks but they do have quite a few).

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Toronto Raptors
Key Additions: DeMarre Carroll, Cory Joseph, Luis Scola, Bismack Biyombo, Delon Wright, Norman Powell
Key Subtractions: Amir Johnson, Greivis Vasquez, Tyler Hansbrough, Chuck Hayes
Outlook: After winning “back to back” division titles, the Toronto Raptors are poised to win a 3rd straight time. Even though Toronto swung and miss at pursuing LaMarcus Aldridge (that caught a lot of people off guard), they were able to add depth at every position. There are still uncertainties of who will be their consistent go-to player when the team needs to score in crunch time, and if they can advance past the first round of the playoffs. I wouldn’t put them in the top-tier class of the Eastern Conference, but they should definitely be around late April.