The 2015-2016 season has been overshadowed by the ‘Kobe Bryant Farewell Tour’ after announcing his retirement. While Kobe is all-deserving, there are many other players that don’t require the attention for their egos. The end is looming for future Hall-of-Famers like Tim Duncan, Dirk Nowitzki, and Kevin Garnett, as they represent the end of the Golden Age of the power forward position. Each player has revolutionized the position in their own ways and leaving their own legacies. Kevin Garnett’s road to the end is unique compared to the roads taken by Kobe, Duncan, and Dirk. Garnett is the only one of the four to play for more than one franchise.
While NBA team’s marketing departments capitalize on Kobe Bryant’s arrivals in their respective cities, Garnett’s unofficial tour is seemingly shorter and more intimate. Even though Garnett has another year on his contract after this season and hasn’t made any indications of retiring, the number of games he has remaining seem more limited than that. Garnett also isn’t putting up the numbers that would infer that he could play beyond this season. KG isn’t going to advertise that the end is near, but seems like he would prefer his retirement party to be amongst those that are near and dear to him. We are calling it the Mini-tour not only because Mini-tour has ‘Minny’ in it (cue the drums), but because Garnett is visiting, maybe for the last time, the cities he spent time in that led him back home.
Garnett is going out of the league the way that he has led his entire career, selfless. KG is spending his final games investing in the future of the games’ of the young Timberwolves core. It’s clear the Wolves are not chasing a championship and Garnett seems fine with that. He isn’t spending the end of his career chasing rings like many other veterans. He is teaching, selflessly. He still plays with the same passion and grit that he always has played with. He still talks smack better than anyone. But what Garnett’s farewell tour represents is more romantic than cinematic.
The Masterminds in the NBA Front Office snuck in back-to-back games against Garnett’s former teams as the Wolves take a quick road trip out East. It didn’t make sense that the Wolves would play in New York one day, come back home, just to fly back to Brooklyn for their next game. There is deep wisdom in it all. The Wolves take on the Brooklyn Nets in an early matchup Sunday at 12pm CT. Then the Wolves take on the Celtics on Monday at 6:30pm. We all know KG rests on the backend of back-to-backs, but the way this is configured, we may see an exception.
First, most back-t0-back games occur with a start time about 24 hours within each other. This one has an added six hours for what it’s worth. The next thing to point out is the Wolves play the Nets first and then the Celtics. KG’s legacy with the Nets isn’t necessarily as historic as his with the Celtics, being that KG won his championship with the Celtics. So it would be odd if Garnett missed the backend game against the Celtics since he accomplished arguably more as a Celtic than as a Wolf, depending on how you measure accomplishments.
Regardless how you measure accomplishments, Garnett has definitely accomplished a lot. Garnett has become the all-time leader in defensive rebounds, a recent accomplishment. To KG’s versatility, he is the only player to ever have 25,000 points, 10,000 rebounds, 5,000 assists, 1,500 blocks and 1,500 steals in their career. He is tied with the making the most NBA First Team All-Defense, being on that team 9 times. Looking at how consistent Garnett has been through his career, he is also the all-time leader in seasons played with 20.
Garnett playing 20 seasons is quite incredible. For many ’80’s babies’, especially Timberwolves fans, Garnett was one of the most influential players to play the game in their generations. Garnett continues to make an deep impact today, regardless of his age and regardless of the stage in his career. While a return to Brooklyn doesn’t seem to be too crazy for Garnett being that he spent a year and a half there, his impact anywhere is something that demands respect. The Wolves still present Garnett last in player introductions, usually reserved for the team’s best player. And while KG doesn’t have the knees to goal-tend shots that come after a whistle from opposing teams, his pre-game rituals have lasted the test of time and are nostalgic.
So will Garnett play both games in the back-to-back? Although we are proclaiming this to be the ‘Kevin Garnett Farewell Mini-Tour’, we have to believe Garnett is thinking about this stretch of games just as much. Well maybe not. But the game to consider the most is definitely the Celtics game. Boston fans love Garnett almost as much as Wolves fans do. There sure will be a lot of encouragement for him to play under the circumstances that Wolves only visit Eastern Conference teams once.
While we want to use Garnett’s quote “Anything is Possible!’ to say he could play the two games on Sunday and Monday, he has missed meaningful games before. Many Wolves fans remember Garnett missing his first game against Minnesota with the Celtics due to an abdominal strain. The game was a sellout and the Timberwolves Organization was forced to send tickets to the fans in attendance to compensate for the disappointment. Garnett isn’t married to the idea that he needs to play in what could be his last time in Brooklyn or Boston. He does what he wants and probably could retire knowing he missed this game for his health.
We will definitely be watching closely. Both cities will likely host tributes for Garnett when they play the Wolves. If he doesn’t play in Boston, it is at least a reminder to appreciate the last few games Garnett will play, in light of all the craziness surrounding this season. It’s a good idea to step back and think what the game may look like without Garnett suiting up again and hitting his head against the basket pads. The game will likely never be the same, so enjoy.
News & Notes
- While the Wolves have gone 2-8 over the last 10 games, one thing we haven’t discussed in a while is Ricky Rubio’s health. Rubio has played 20 games this season while only playing 22 last year. That is a positive. So Wolves fans, as Ricky says: Change your face, be happy. Enjoy!
- Andrew Wiggins had 32 points, 10 rebounds, and 6 assists in the win over the Kings. Wiggins is the youngest player in Timberwolves history to have 30 points, 10 boards, and 5 assists. Yes he did it younger than Kevin Garnett, Kevin Love, and even Ndudi Ebi.
- Wolves fans voted that the Kings would beat the Wolves in our Twitter poll ( @Timberrebuilder), a first where the homer-Wolves fans didn’t believe we would win.
- Couple of tweets we liked from other people that are worth sharing:
Big fan of Brad Stevens, head coach of the Celtics. Will take that compliment.
Karl-Anthony Towns is amazing. #NBAvote
The Timber (re)Builder