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Kevin Garnett – n. an integral part of the Boston Celtics 2009-10 roster and its chances at winning an eighteenth NBA championship.
Kevin Garnett is in the dictionary? No, but what is critical in our definition is the part about Garnett being integral to the team’s success. Garnett has been a leading scorer, phenomenal defender, and source of team inspiration amongst the Celtics ever since his arrival in 2007. However, last year we saw what happens to the Celtics when they lose the Big Ticket.
Last season, Garnett went down with a knee injury shortly after the All-Star break. He tried to come back before the playoffs, but the pain was much too great for him to recover and play through. After off season surgery, Garnett has already started this season ready to get back into his form he left after mid-season last year. The question is though, if Garnett is to go down again with a season ending injury can the Celtics still maintain what already is looking like their dominant status over the rest of the Eastern Conference and the NBA?
In his career, Garnett averages 20.2 points, 11.1 rebounds, and 1.6 blocks per game. The numbers are not something that any team would want to lose. His leadership and ability to inspire the team are ways he can still help the team even when he is not on the court, but his presence on the court is invaluable as well in those aspects. He is also another big man that Celtics lacked last year, but this year is a different story.
Last year the Celtics did not have Marquis Daniels, Shelden Williams, or, of course, Rasheed Wallace. This year, all three of these guys add a lot more size and talent to the Celtics bench, which would have to step it up once again if Garnett was to go down. We also cannot forget the emergence of Glen Davis as a major scorer from last season when he stepped into the shoes of Garnett.
The moral of this story is that I believe the Celtics can still manage themselves and go beyond that if Garnett’s knee is not fully up to the expectations he is having of it. The amount of size and talent that was added to bench gives the Celtics a better chance to fill Garnett’s very large shoes that were vacant for much of last season. The Eastern Conference is becoming the powerhouse of the NBA once again, and with the new acquisitions for the Celtics, injuries will be unfortunate (especially with KG), but not the be-all, end-all for the team.