Category Archives: Kevin Garnett

Is it too Early to Cast Doubts on Kevin Garnett’s Health?

The hopes and aspirations of this season Boston Celtics rely heavily on the health of Kevin Garnett

The hopes and aspirations of this season Boston Celtics rely heavily on the health of Kevin Garnett

As preseason is now less than a month away, with the lack of information regarding Kevin Garnett’s progress, is it fair to begin casting doubts on his ability to play in the preseason? Is it fair to question whether he will be available to play in Cleveland on opening night?

 

Dating back to last season, I was not a Celtics “KG conspiracy believer”. I did find it coincidental, however, that the Celtics declared Garnett “ready to play next week” several times before completely shutting him down around the time tickets sold out for game one of the opening round series of the playoffs.

As the playoffs progressed, Doc Rivers flirted with the possibility of a KG return. Garnett’s staring in a TV commercial right in the heart of the thrilling Chicago series furthered speculation over KG’s return.

With emotions stirring over the first round of the playoffs, a series most found to be absolutely one of the more exciting series in playoff history, I found myself thinking – How is KG healthy enough to shoot an Adidas commercial but unable to sit on the bench in a suit through an entire game?

The commercial served as a tease to me, a person who had not so feverishly craved a Celtic in uniform since Larry Bird spent weeks on the injured list in 1992.

After my emotions cooled, I realized basketball is a business and I am sure KG was capable of fulfilling his endorsement obligations, even with a bum knee.

I still hate that commercial though!

Paul Pierce gave an excellent interview yesterday to Peter Stringer, discussing a range of topics regarding the Celtics 2010 championship aspirations, he also briefly touched on KG’s health.

He mentioned Garnett being at the Waltham practice facility as a, “KG sighting”, a phrase we heard all too often during last spring’s playoffs when KG was spotted entering the practice facility. To me, a “KG sighting” is not too reassuring.

Then Stringer went on to ask Pierce how KG looked. Pierce responded:

“He’s lookin’ pretty good. He didn’t play but he’s out there doin’ slides, he’s liftin’ the weights, he’s on the treadmill, so we’re excited to have him back”

Again, to me, Pierce’s assessment of KG’s progress seems to be guarded and not reassuring.

As Greg Payne of Celtics Circuit pointed out, at the 50 second mark of the video, you can see Garnett doing defensive slides at Waltham. As great as it is to see KG in practice gear with the team, it is equally concerning to see the stiff manner in which Garnett is moving in. He looks to be hampered by a, still recovering, sleaved right knee.

I know I have to keep in perspective that Garnett recently underwent surgery on that knee and that recovery does not happen over night.

Some will say that I am paranoid.

My response to that claim is that the Celtics created this paranoia last season with their flip flopping on all things regarding Kevin Garnett’s health. Though I do not believe that the Celtics knew the severity of his injury when they claimed Garnett ready to play the week before the playoffs began (only to shut him down several days later), I do believe their dificiencies in properly relaying Garnett’s injury status to the media only added to an already beat up locker room. 

Basically, I am disturbed to say that I have lost all confidence in the Celtics medical staff when it comes to Kevin Garnett’s status updates, or lack there of.

At this point, the only thing that will subdue this brewing debate over KG’s health is for the Big Ticket himself to start talking to the media about his progress.

Even the reclusive, private, anti-social and some times rude, Larry Bird realised the importance his health played on team moral and gave media statements regarding his progress or, at times, lack of progress.

I am not questioning Garnett’s heart or desire to play – who would? I am only stating that, at times, an athlete needs to put aside his own tendencies to be private and guarded for the betterment of team moral.

If the Celtics are going to face a stint at the start of the season with Garnett unable to play, they should be emotionally and strategically preparing for that scenario now.

If Garnett’s progress is moving as expected and he will 100% be in uniform on October 27th then Garnett should say it and if they are unsure of whether he will be properly recovered and conditioned to play by opening night – he should just say it.

KG, we are waiting to hear from you!

Boston Celtics Take ‘Educated Risk’ in Securing this Season’s Roster

After winning the title in 2008, the taste of championship glory is still on the tip of my nose. I can recall watching game 6 of the 2008 Finals in disbelief as the Celtics steam rolled over the Lakers before half time.

How sweet it was!

Raw emotions were displayed on the faces of players and fans alike. The Boston faithful had waited 22 years for this moment.

Players such as Kevin Garnett had spent a life time listening to doubters proclaiming he does not have what it takes to get it done. Watching Garnett drop to the floor and kiss the Celtics logo, penned by Red Auerbach’s brother, seemed to perfectly sum up the sixty years of championship glory and recent years of heart wrenching mediocrity, tragic deaths and untimely injuries with the flawless respect for the basketball legends that preceded him.

Sure Garnett’s raw emotion was viewed by some as barbaric. At times Kevin could be barbaric in his emotional response to victory or defeat. That “barbaric behavior” is honest, real and right from the heart. What can be more refreshing in an era where the image of NBA players has taken the front seat over honesty and reality?

Though the Celtics had competitive teams from 1987 thru 1992 and again in 2001, the championship never really seemed that close.

Even during the competitive years, their were always too many “ifs” surrounding the team.

“If Bird remains healthy, we can win it all again…”

“If McHale’s ankles stay strong no one can guard him in the post…”

“If Auerbach can pull off one more historic move to get us a bench…”

“If Len Bias didn’t…”

“If Reggie Lewis…”

My biggest “if” was always, if Bird never hurt his back in 1990 he could have had his last championship encore against Magic and the Lakers in 1991. What could have been more fitting?

Similar “if” scenarios surround the current Celtics team. The honest truth is, when you surround your team’s faith around the health of players over 30 you are always taking an “educated risk”.

As a fan that still tastes the victory celebrations of June 17, 2008, I would prefer to have educated and experienced veterans in a bid to reclaim glory now then youthful inexperienced players looking to make a name for themselves and possibly have team success while doing it.

As a Celtics fan from the 1980’s, I preferred the “educated risk” the organization took as the original big three’s career winded down by keeping them intact. Many may have forgotten but trade talks, similar to those surrounding Ray Allen’s this season, surrounded Kevin McHale after the 1990 loss to the Knicks in the first round.

Back then I grimaced at the thought of Bird, Parish and McHale being broken up, it just wasn’t Celtic-like to dispose of players that played on broken feet to help us reach the Finals.

Red Auerbach believed in rewarding players that worked hard for him with job security. Though in today’s era that is nearly impossible, I still believe in that philosophy. The philosophy that if a player has job security he will help to train his eventual replacement. Call me naive but Celtics players longevity with the team is one of the elements that drove me to be such an ardent Celtics fan.

Today I feel my view points have not changed. To break up Pierce, Garnett and Allen would be a sin that would do Red disjustice.

Yes, I will stand by the Celtics “educated risk” just as I did in the late 80s/early 90s. Hopefully this time around all the “what ifs…” that coincide with reminiscing about possible championships past will be replaced by “thank god we didn’t…”

Free Agency to Begin Tomorrow

Looking back on June, a month that was busy with rumors surrounding the Celtics key players, controversy between Danny Ainge and Rajon Rondo, and the NBA crowning a new champion -the Los Angeles Lakers.

June began with a welcomed guarantee as Kevin Garnett, recovering from successful knee surgery, proclaimed that the Celtics would bring the championship home in 2010 and 2011.

To further Garnett’s gusto, on the one year anniversary of the Celtics 17th championship, Paul Pierce tweeted “Lakers vs Orlando. Looked like a german shepard vs a poodle that’s ok the rotwieler celtics will b back in 2o10.”

During the two weeks following Garnett’s initial gutsy guarantee, the Los Angeles Lakers exposed the Orlando Magics weaknesses and defeated them in 5 games.

The dreaded Lakers winning the title would have cemented any Celtics team’s cohesion but as the days wore on a small fire started to churn between Rajon Rondo and Danny Ainge.

Ainge seemed to be making statements and holding press conferences almost daily leading up to the draft. His statements contradicted themselves as he one day would encourage Rondo to be more mature and ridiculed the young point guard for showing up late for games and the next day declaring his love for Rondo.

This out-pouring of public criticism only seemed to fuel the Rondo trade rumors.

As draft day came and passed, the Celtics made no changes to their starting five and as free agency starts tomorrow, the rumors have now shifted to names like Rasheed Wallace, Grant Hill, Antonio McDyess, Matt Barnes, Marcin Gortat and Charlie Villanueva.

Villanueva, who I would love to see in green, seems to really be leaning towards the Cavs and the Cavs have expressed an interest. My only hope would be that the Cavs signing Villanueva would keep them from re-signing Anderson Varejao and the Celtics can pick him up.

It’s clear that the balance of power in the NBA has tipped towards the Eastern Conference for the first time in several seasons. I hope Danny Ainge is ready to pull the trigger on some major moves, even if that means dipping into Wyc Grousbeck’s “open wallet”…

Shaq Joining the Cleveland Cavaliers Will Not Push Them Past The Boston Celtics

The Finals are over and the Los Angeles Lakers have won their 15th title. Phil Jackson has surpassed Red Auerbach with 10 NBA championships. Though it was complete agony to witness this coveted record fall, Jackson commented that he would smoke a cigar in honor of Red. I thought that was kind of classy, even for the Zen Master.

I would be lying if I said that I was totally overjoyed about the Lakers winning, quite the opposite.

It was very amusing to me, however, that on the night of his first victory without Shaq, Kobe Bryant still had to share the headlines with the “Big Cactus”.

It seems that some one leaked the rumor that Cleveland and Phoenix are again in talks to trade Shaquille O’Neal to the Cavs for Ben Wallace and Sasha Pavlovic. The trade was leaked out the day of game five, L.A.’s championship clinching contest.

We all know Shaq’s desire to win his fifth title. Winning his fifth with LeBron James would be very attractive to the Big fella’, this would help to cement his legacy as a dominant big man that won championships with all three of this generation’s superstar perimeter players.

I must look at this trade from the Boston Celtics perspective. Last season the Cavaliers added Mo Williams to help them get past Boston in the Conference playoffs. Though the match-up never materialized, I feel if Boston were healthy the addition of Mo would not have made much of an impact. Williams was a non-factor in the Orlando series and I feel he would have disappeared under pressure, regardless the opponent.

This off-season Cleveland is looking to add a big man to counter Dwight Howard.

The 2010 Celtics, most likely one of the Eastern Conference top two teams, should not have a problem guarding Shaquille O’Neal as a Cavalier. The fact is, Kendrick Perkins has held Shaq well under 20 points per game and under nine rebounds per game in the last two seasons.

Though Shaq still demands double coverage from most teams, I do not believe that to be so against Kendrick Perkins, especially with Kevin Garnett’s help defense. No double teams mean no great passes to the open jump shooters by Shaq.

Cleveland is a first rate pick and roll team and uses the offensive set frequently. Shaq, throughout his career, had been known as a good pick and roll player. While a Phoenix Sun, Shaq displayed his difficulties in this area citing his lack of explosiveness off the roll – one of the few area’s Shaq resembles his 37 years.

Though Shaq’s physical play may counter the play of Dwight Howard, I do not feel the addition of Shaquille will effect the Celtics either way.

In other rumors, the last few weeks have been loitered with Celtics potential dealings. Danny Ainge’s love affair with Tyreek Evans had the team dishing Rajon Rondo and Ray Allen for the 2nd pick in the NBA draft.

As reported by Celtics Circuit this morning, the latest round of trade rumors have Kendrick Perkins and Bill Walker shipping out to Memphis for the number two pick.

With the trade of Shaquille O’Neal to Cleveland looming, it would seem that trading away Boston’s defensive minded center would be ridiculous.

Though a total re-tooling of Boston’s line-up has been suggested as necessary to secure the Celtics long term future, I do not see the team disassembling their starting five. Ownership, the front office and coaching staff have made it clear that the bringing the Celtics 18th banner back to Boston in 2010 is their top priority.

The fact is, Shaquille O’Neal will have no impact on the Boston Celtics 2010 season. Potential injuries or the constant trade rumors coming to fruition would be more detrimental to the 2008 NBA Champions, a team that is looking to re-take their throne. A trophy Kevin Garnett guaranteed will return to Boston in 2010.

Kevin Garnett: Guaranteed Celtics Championships in 2010 & 2011

Kevin Garnett is obviously starting to feel better after surgery to remove bone spurs in his right knee.

According to Boston.Com, on the eve of the NBA Finals, The Big Ticket guaranteed Celtics championships in 2010 and 2011.

Team Owner Wyc Grousbeck told Boston.Com, “I talked to [Garnett] and he guaranteed the championship in 2010 and 2011,” Grousbeck says “He was as fired up as he has ever been”

He is expected to be ready for training camp in September.

In other news, Ray Allen confirmed that he has hamstring strain during the semi finals series against Orlando.

Allen told Boston.Com, “It was something I had to deal with,”

Ray didn’t discuss his injury during the playoffs because he did not considered the injury serious enough to mention.

King SHAME: Lebron Let’s Down Teammates and Fans

It’s an unfortunate fact that two days after the Orlando Magic clinched their first Finals birth since 1995, they were once again overshadowed.

Today, the media once again focused it’s attention on LeBron James.

Despite some media figure accounts, it is well documented that the ‘great ones’, though obviously disappointed in defeat, never displayed poor sportsmanship.
That’s one of the qualities that made them great.
They understood their responsibility to their team. They acknowledged the respect owed to their opponents in defeat and they fulfilled their obligation to the fans that supported them throughout the season.
In the 1960’s Bill Russell and Wilt Chamerlain would secretly dine together before and often after games.
In the 1980’s Larry Bird and Magic Johnson always threw each other a respectful “fist pump” prior to tipoff and praised each other to the press core following games.
Magic and Isiah Thomas would go so far as to kiss before games and they never missed an amiable embrace following each contest.
After Cleveland’s game six loss to Orlando on Saturday, the only thing more ghastly then Dalante West ripping his jersey off on national television was LeBron James’ retreat into the locker room without even a glance toward the team that ended his season prematurely.

I am not suggesting that after game six LeBron and Dwight Howard should have followed Magic and Isiah’s pregame ritual. However, It was a bit disappointing to watch LeBron completely ignore his Olympic teammate.
It has been said repeatedly in the media that LeBron James has been the model NBA poster boy. Though I can agree that LeBron is wiser then his years, typically composed, calculated and well spoken with the media, his team’s routine “celebrations” have been well documented throughout their 66 win season.
The media often defended Cleveland’s festivities as great “camaraderie” between teammates. My argument continues to be that until you are holding the Larry O’Brien Trophy such pronounced celebrations at another teams expense is completely premature and will only come back to haunt you.
At points during the season, The Cavaliers only seemed to be spectators to their own generic ascendancy. So often we witnessed LeBron’s half time and post game analysis that was so in depth that it rivaled Doug Collins’ and Hubey Browns famed statistical breakdowns.
It’s obvious that once Kevin Garnett went down, King James and his Cavaliers never thought they would be anywhere but in the finals competing for the championship. The thought of losing never crossed their minds. Anything prior to playing the Lakers for the title was a formality.
The celebrations continued…
Today, as I glanced on youtube to re-visit such Cavaliers celebrations, I realized how idiotic they actually appeared.
Throughout the season, the Cavs displayed such a complete lack of humility through frequent taunting, emotional outbursts while winning. Such infamous Cavalier disclosures as the pre-game “photo shoot”, LeBron’s flexing and panting after big shots or dunks, and the blow out “dance off” and “air guitar sessions” at the Q have been described by opposing teams as unsportsmanlike behavior – sound familiar?
Though it was disappointing to see LeBron scurry to the locker room avoiding his opponents, it was not shocking. Let’s not forget, he played the same disappearing act, following his team’s game seven loss to Boston last season.
What was shocking was his absence from the post game press conference. Let’s face it, LeBron has never been camera shy.
It’s an unspoken responsibility for the leader of the team to address the media following victories and losses. Regardless of how frustrated he have may been, LeBron could have taken as much time as necessary to calm himself down. We know that the media would not have vacated the press room until James had arrived.
This responsibility is not only to the press that so favorably covered him throughout his career but also to his loyal fans.
It’s hard for me to swallow that LeBron would expect the media to flock to St. Vincent-St. Mary’s High School (which, of course, they did) for him to be awarded his Most Valuable Player crown but then to have the nerve to not show up for a post game press conference because he was “frustrated” over his team’s elimination.
It has also been suggested that LeBron avoided the media to evade any questions about the dismantling of the current Cleveland Cavaliers roster. Though LeBron’s future would naturally have been a topic of the post game conference, it only fueled speculations today when he gave delinquent comments to the press in his typical New York Yankee’s hat.
Does LeBron want to be a New York Knick?
In what I believe to be a good decision, the NBA decided not to hammer James with any fines for dissing the post game press conference.
Like a true king, LeBron showed no remorse in his comments to the press today.
The Cleveland Cavaliers celebration has ended with no press conference, no title parade, and with more media questions then answers.

KG Has Successful Knee Surgery Today

As reported by Bostonherald.com today, Kevin Garnett successfully had bone spurs removed from his right knee.

He will now undergo the normal 6-8 weeks of rehabilitation.

“After this successful surgery, Kevin can now focus on rehabilitating his knee, returning to top physical shape, and fully preparing for the 2009-10 season.” said director of Basketball Operations, Danny Ainge.

Much debate and speculation has occurred regarding the severity Garnett’s knee injury. The second half of the Celtics season was dominated by when Garnett would return and how effective he would be.

We saw him return for a brief stint on March 15th. He played only 16 minutes per game and seemed to be in pain and frustrated.

Truth is, KG started looking uncomfortable running and jumping early on in the season. I had noticed he started wearing a knee brace before the All-Star game. He ran with a noticeable limp during the All-Star game.

The knee was injured on a lob pass from Rajon Rondo on February 19th, the first game after the All-Star break.

Garnett appeared in 57 games this season. Remarkably, the Celtics record of 62-20 was achieved much of while Garnett was benched.

“I expect Kevin to report to active duty in full force and be the consummate two-way professional that he has shown all of us throughout his fantastic NBA career,” Doc Rivers said by team press release today.