Kevin Garnett may be the most important player on the NBA’s Brooklyn Nets, taking up the roll of team leader. Garnett, who entered the NBA in 1995, is into his 18th season and is currently playing for his third team. He is starting to show his age, currently out with back spasms, but should return in the next week according to Nets head coach Jason Kidd.
Garnett, a 15 time NBA All Star, came to the Brooklyn Nets from the Boston Celtics in a trade that included teammates Paul Pierce and Jason Terry. The addition of both Pierce and Garnett made the Nets an immediate threat in the Eastern Conference. The Nets are currently two and a half games behind the Atlantic Division leading Toronto Raptors for second place.
It started rough for Garnett in high school. He played his first organized basketball for Mauldin High School in Mauldin, South Carolina. After an incident involving black and white students occurred causing his family to fear for his safety, Garnett moved to Chicago, Illinois to play his senior year at Farragut Academy.
Farragut Academy is where things really changed for this future NBA All Star. He was named not only Mr. Basketball for the state of Illinois, USAToday named him the 1995 National High School Player of the Year. Soon after that award, Garnett earned MVP honors for his play in the McDonald’s All American game.
The road for Kevin Garnett to become the current leader of a rebuilding Brooklyn Nets team started later in 1995. Garnett entered the 1995 NBA draft, and was selected with the 5th in the first round of the draft by the Minnesota Timberwolves. This made Garnett the first player drafted out of high school in 20 years.
Garnetts first season in the NBA was nothing special. He came off of the bench most of the season, and he was named to the NBA All-Rookie Second Team. In his second season Garnett was named to the starting line up and his numbers started to take off. This led the Timberwolves to sign Garnett to a multi year contract. Garnett took off as a franchise player for Minnesota, winning the leagues regulars season most valuable player award for 2004.
After a few frustrating seasons following the his MVP season, Garnett, who was regarded as one of the top players in the NBA was traded to the Boston Celtics for five players. This teamed Garnett up with Pierce and Ray Allen. The trade gave Boston the tools to win the 2008 NBA Championship and Garnett won his first Defensive Player of the Year award.
Garnett stayed with the Celtics for five seasons before being traded to the Nets. Now, having to sit on the bench with back spasms, Garnett and fans are hoping to see him back on the court before the playoff begin. Playing or not, Garnett, is a important member of the team for first year coach Jason Kidd.
Many players would think about retirement after 18 seasons in the NBA. When healthy Kevin Garnett is still a explosive player that can not only make a difference on the court, but also lead the Brooklyn Nets team into the post season. With his experience and 6 foot 11 inch frame, he should remain a important player for the NBA and the Nets for a few more seasons.
Commentary by Carl Auer