A Tale of Two Knees
Posted by Brendan Jackson on Sep 29, 2009
The mounting comparisons between Kevin Garnett and Tom Brady are starting to get a little scary. Both are aguably the best player on their respective teams, both missed most of last season with knee injuries that were worse than expected, and, most importantly, the jury is still out on both of their comebacks. In three games Tom Brady has been almost unrecognizable from his 2007 self. Yes his recievers are dropping balls (Galloway!!!) and his O-Line hung him out to dry in the Jets game but that doesn’t change the fact that he has appeared tentative in the pocket, overthrown his recievers, and hasn’t found a comfort level with guys like Aiken and Edelmen. All that being said, he’s shown progress.
So what does all this mean for Kevin Garnett. The answer, in short, is nothing. The injuries are very different and people respond differently to injuries and surgeries. Still those ideas are not as settling as they’re suppose to be.
Last season I was confident that if the Celtics got passed Orlando, Garnett would have had his Willis Reed moment and played against the Cavs. After a summer of information and misinformation bouncing around the interwebs arguing over the severity of Garnett’s injury has turned me into a paranoid maniac. I have no idea how to deal with Garnett’s return and it’s driving me crazy. Take yesterday for example. At the Celtic media day, Garnett revealed that he has been scrimmaging with the team and has been a step slow, marveling at the speed of Rajon Rondo and Lester Hudson. If Garnett fails to regain that step he’s lost the ramification for the Celtics would be catastrophic.
Without his ability to hedge and guard opposing team’s point guards, the threat of slapping the floor and really chesting up a smaller, quicker guy, or using his quickness to recover to the post and alter/ block shots, the Celtics anchor would be reduced to a midrange jump shooter.
That prospect has put my brain in a tizzy since yesterday when he made those comments. Sure he could use his basketball savvy and years of experience to occaisonally sneak behind the defense for his patented alley oops, but if he only does that once every three games, when does he lose his patent? Mutombo held on to the finger wag, but his career was ended, albeit on time, by a knee injury. Garnett could probably play the passing lanes and get a few steals a game, especially if Bird made a living at it and he was never quick. But how many gambles will lead to easy baskets for the other team…?
Okay, that was my mopy, doomsday consipracy theorist other self who I plan on taking care of “Fight Club” style after I finish writing. There’s no writing on any wall. In fact, there isn’t even a wall. And even if there was a wall, KG has definitely not hit it. He’s way too motivated and his team has never been more stacked.
So how do we prevent the “doom and gloom” side of us from taking over? Find out after the jump.
Tom Brady seems to be getting better and still could return to 2007 form. Knee injuries, while extremely scary, are not the end all be all. Peyton Manning, Phillip Rivers, Willis MeGehee, have all come back from knee injuries and still continue to be productive (I recognize not all of you Celtics fans are also Pats fans and I’m sorry for all the Tom Brady references but it’s football season so deal). Also, according to Shaun Livingston, he’s almost 100% and if he can comeback from this, anyone else with a knee injury should consider a comeback (paging Jonathan Bender…).
The Celtics could always “Shaqify” KG. I wouldn’t goes as far as to give him off days, unless something was specifically bothering him of course, but I wouldn’t mind limiting his minutes against lesser opponents. The Celtics still have Rasheed Wallace and Glen Davis as back ups. Clearly KG will have opportunities to take a load off without worry. Hell, I’m psyched to see if the Celtics made a steal with the Shelden Williams signing. I’ll admit I was interested in seeing how well Patrick O’Bryant played last year, but I wouldn’t go as far to say excited. Shelden Williams is different. He was a great player in college, a much more touted player coming into the league, and (as long as he’s barred from taking jumpshots) could be very productive rebounding the ball and blocking shots.
Let the doubters doubt. Fans of opposing teams already think the Celtics are too old and too injured to compete. Hopefully those thoughts will transfer over to the players of these opposing teams. I personally believe players are smarter than that but should a guy guarding KG doubt his quickness and double a guy like Rondo, the tandem of Rondo and Garnett will make them pay everytime.
Don’t let other teams’ acquisitions get to you. The Celtics got the best offseason aquisition in the entire NBA: a healthy KG. Given the option between Kevin Garnett, Richard Jefferson, Shaquille O’Neal, Vince Carter, or Ron Artest I believe, across the board, the answer would all be the same. That statement doesn’t even take into consideration losing guys like Turkoglu and Ariza or the other Celtics offseason moves. Signing Daniels and Sheed and resigning Davis were huge. I would go as far to say necessary to the title 18 run.
This offseason, I had too much time to think about the worst of the worst that could befall the Celtics, but the more I think about it, this team looks real good and real deep. You know what else would look read good, a filled-in banner hanging in Waltham.