Kevin Garnett averaged just 6.6 points and 6.7 rebounds per game in 96 games with the Brooklyn Nets, but his impact on the court was still very much felt.
Kevin Garnett was traded to the Brooklyn Nets along with Paul Pierce and Jason Terry from the Boston Celtics on the day of the NBA Draft in 2013 to join a core of Deron Williams, Joe Johnson and Brook Lopez. Garnett came over after a six-year run in Boston with Pierce by his side through it all.
Although the 15-time All-Star wasn’t the same player as he was during his days with the Minnesota Timberwolves and Boston Celtics, he still brought the same energy and intensity to the floor every night and endeared himself into the heart of Nets fans during his short time here.
Garnett would still throw down powerful dunks and block shots the same way his former superstar self would from time-to-time, but he would also do his signature pump to the chest during intense moments of the game and still do things to get into the opponent’s head that only he can get away with.
The Nets sat at a very disappointing 10-21 at the end of December, and things looked like they were about to go haywire.
However, it was the leadership of Garnett and Pierce and how they held their teammates accountable during down moments that helped this team ultimately turn it around in the new calendar year and finish with a 44-38 record for the 6th seed in the Eastern Conference.
“When we lose like this it’s a complete lack of focus,” Garnett said after a crushing defeat to the Portland Trail Blazers in 2014. “There’s no way we should be losing by 40 to any NBA team with the guys we got. I’ve got to say it’s a complete lack of focus. That’s all I have to say. We just didn’t show up.”
Although things didn’t shake out the way the Nets envisioned when they made this trade, the blame cannot be solely placed on Garnett, as he provided the leadership that was necessary and embraced a limited role to help his team win.
KG also still provided a ton of excitement with snippets of everything that made him great throughout his career during his short stay in Brooklyn; especially during that first-round playoff series against the Toronto Raptors.
It was also refreshing to see Garnett express a willingness to stay in Brooklyn and finish out his contract with the team despite Pierce bolting to the Washington Wizards in free agency and other uncertainties surrounding the organization.
However, Garnett was eventually traded back to Minnesota in February 2015 in exchange for Thaddeus Young.
Although it was fun to have Garnett in the fold, this was the right move to make, as it gave him a chance to go back to his original team to finish out his career, and it gave the Nets a much-needed piece to help them get back to the playoffs for the third-straight season.
The Big Ticket will get a one-way ticket into the Basketball Hall of Fame later this year after an illustrious career which saw him win an MVP with the Minnesota Timberwolves in 2004, a championship and Defensive Player of the Year award with the Boston Celtics in 2008, and four All-NBA First Team selections in addition to his many other accolades.