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

Where Is The (Kevin) Love?


The man that was traded for the NBA 2014 number one overall pick and the same man who was a double double machine in Minnesota, is now starting to be questioned if he can coexist with the other 2 of the big 3 in Cleveland with LeBron James and Kyrie Irving. Initially we all thought, including LeBron, that Kevin Love would be the missing piece for the city of Cleveland to end it’s drought of winning a championship. Kevin Love’s ability to rebound, stretch the floor with his perimeter shooting, and his fastbreak starting ability convinced LeBron and the Cavaliers to trade away Andrew Wiggins. What wasn’t taken into account was Love’s inability to defend, especially against the pick and roll and help side defense.

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Kevin Love signed a 5 hear, $110 million deal over the summer. While Irving was out at the beginning of the season, LeBron emphasized that Love would be the focal point of the offense. Last year, Kevin would look misplaced and lost within the system with James and Irving on the court. Once Kyrie returned in December, much of the same continued. When Cleveland initially made the trade, they promised Kevin that he would receive his (max) contract. I’m starting to think they just gave him his money based on that reason alone, and not because they wanted to use him long term (at this point). At times, the team would take him out during the 4th quarter of his defensive deficiencies. If you can’t play in the 4th because of that or the inability to hit free throws (other players qualify here), then you don’t deserve a max contact in my opinion (don’t you agree?). And if you don’t deserve a max contract but is currently under a max contract, then you’re overrated. Being teamed up with LeBron has exposed Kevin Love’s flaws on the national stage. When he was in Minnesota, Ricky Rubio was always hurt so Kevin did everything. Love has 11 20-point-20-rebound games in his career. None of them has happened since joining the Cavaliers. I’m convinced to say that he is the most overrated player in the NBA at the moment. Not taking away from what he’s excellent at but when you’re on the same team as LeBron and you’re outcasted and isolated by your own teammates and in the middle of trade rumors, then you wonder why Minnesota gave him a 4 year contract extension instead of a max contract the first time around. There’s no love in Minnesota. There’s starting to have no love in Cleveland. So my question is where is the love?

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JGOOD

NBA Preview Part 2: Northwest Division


Northwest Division

Denver Nuggets
Key Additions: Emmanuel Mudiay, Nikola Jokic, Nick Johnson, Kostas Papanikolaou
Key Subtractions: Ty Lawson
Outlook: The Denver Nuggets remind me of the Houston Rockets a few years ago being “stuck”. They are not good enough to contend, but they not bad enough to receive top talent in the draft. Fortunately for Houston, they were able to trade for James Harden. They are high on their first round pick Emmanuel Mudiay. They still have players that can put in the ball in the basket (Gallinari, Chandler, Foye). They still have a rebounding machine in Faried (if only he can develop a post game). The fact remains unless they find a player with a true low post presence and actually make any effort in playing some defense, they will continue to be the team that you see today instead of the team that made the playoffs 10 consecutive seasons not too long ago.

Minnesota Timberwolves
Key Additions: Karl-Anthony Towns, Nemanja Bjelica, Damjan Rudez, Andre Miller, Tyus Jones
Key Subtractions: Chase Budinger, Robbie Hummel, Justin Hamilton
Outlook: I jumped on the Andrew Wiggins bandwagon at the beginning of his rookie season. He is going to be a star in due time. This team will soon erase the years of sitting through the Kevin Love years into something exciting and prosperous. With the addition of Karl-Anthony Towns, and having veteran leadership like Andre Miller and Kevin Garnett, I expect this T’Wolves team to become this decade’s Oklahoma City Thunder team in a year or two. However for this season, they should be one of the most exciting teams to watch and may steal a few games.

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Oklahoma City Thunder
Key Additions: Cameron Payne, Josh Huestis
Key Subtractions: Perry Jones, Jeremy Lamb
Outlook: The long-awaited return of Kevin Durant plus the triple-threat machine Russell Westbrook puts this team back in the elite category. The Thunder has been the forgot team in the Western Conference because of the Kevin Durant foot injury that cost him to miss the entire 2014-15 season. In that time frame, long time Thunder coach Scott Brooks was let go. Billy Donovan is now the guy leading the charge in his first time on the big stage. However, there a few unknowns heading into this season. Will Kevin Durant reclaim his status as a top 2 player in the league? Will the Thunder become elite contenders again? Will Kevin Durant resign with the Oklahoma City Thunder in the offseason? Only time will tell but don’t be surprised if they are playing basketball in June.

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Portland Trail Blazers
Key Additions: Mason Plumlee, Ed Davis, Noah Vonleh, Al-Farouq Aminu, Gerald Henderson, Maurice Harkless
Key Subtractions: LaMarcus Aldridge, Robin Lopez, Nicolas Batum, Wesley Matthews, Aaron Afflalo, Steve Blake
Outlook: The Trail Blazers lost 80% of their starting lineup in free agency in the first week. Damien Lillard is the official franchise cornerstone and his help is lackluster. The team will be going through some growing pains and I’m not sure how the process will take, but we will truly see if Lillard can make the best out of a bad situation. This team will be a lottery team this season.

Utah Jazz
Key Additions: Trey Lyles, Tibor Pleiss, Raul Neto
Key Subtractions: Jeremy Evans
Outlook: This team is very young and far from being a playoff contender. It didn’t help that Donte Exum tore his ACL over the summer. I like Gordon Hayward, Derrick Favors, and Trey Burke as solid role players for a contender, but unless they take their game to the next level quickly, the Utah Jazz will remain towards the bottom of the bucket. Will this franchise begin to swim or are they going to keep drowning? I expect about the same this year as the previous few unless somebody proves me wrong.