When Kevin Garnett was traded to the Celtics after the 2006-07 season, we really thought the C's were loading up for a one-year (maybe two?) run at glory. The reasoning was sound: Garnett, Paul Pierce and Ray Allen were the centerpieces of the team, and they were old going on older. Now: we're not sure if that logic was based more on pure fact or hope that the trade would balance out for the local team someday.
It looked like a decent bet, anyway, after KG got his ring in year 1, then broke down with a bum knee in year 2 as the Celtics were nudged out of the playoffs before even reaching the conference finals.
But here we are in year three. KG is not the same player he used to be. And so far, it doesn't really seem to matter. Energized by youngsters like Rajon Rondo and Kendrick Perkins and bolstered by another key veteran (Rasheed Wallace) while still getting enough out of the Big Three, the Celtics look as formidable as they have at any point during the KG-in-Boston era. Don't think so? Check the numbers: 5-0 start, including an opening night win in Cleveland, a 10-point win over New Orleans and three other W's by at least 28 points.
Garnett played just 23 minutes last night and scored just three points on 1-for-7 shooting -- and Boston won by 31 over Philly. It helped that his teammates shot 40-for-65 and played the kind of smothering, ridiculous defense that will more than likely give the young Timberwolves fits tonight in KG's third go-round (second in uniform) at Target Center as a member of the Celtics. For the season, KG is averaging just 11.2 points, 6.8 rebounds and 28 minutes.
Maybe that's validation enough that the Wolves moved him at the right time and that the trade was a good one for both teams since it netted Al Jefferson and allowed Minnesota to rebuild. But as long as the Wolves are in the lottery and the Celtics are contending for titles, it's going to feel a little lopsided.
Side note: Welcome to the blogosphere, Jim Souhan. Good to have you along for the ride, even if we think SouhanBall would have been a much better blog name.