Tuesday, July 31, 2007

LNS: Sports Talk

If you don't keep up with sports today, I'll keep this simple: sports are not like they used to be. Today's huge news is a good example of that. Minnesota jack-of-all-trades Kevin Garnett was traded to Boston for FIVE players and two draft picks. Now, in reality, this trade is only for three players and two draft picks because Theo Ratliff is pretty much a bum now and Sebastian Telfair isn't mature enough or skilled enough to be a worthwhile NBA player. In fact, Telfair is the reason that the 19 year old rule is now in place in the NBA. Anyway, I digress.

This trade is steep to me in a lot of ways. Firstly, Boston traded away a franchise player of the future in Al Jefferson. They also traded away two promising swing men in Ryan Gomes and Gerald Green. And, I ask for what? For a dude who hasn't been able to carry his team past the first round of the playoffs for his entire career? Sure, he can put up buckets. But, he's not clutch. I wouldn't put the ball in KG's hands the same way I wouldn't put it in Dirk Nowitzki's hands because I know that he wouldn't come through. As much as I don't like him, I know Kobe would hit that clutch shot. Believe me, I watched him do it too, too many times. Boston will justify this trade because of the fact that they got Ray Allen (at a cost of promising young point guard Delonte West and rookie Jeff Green) and still have Paul Pierce (another underachieving yet talented player).

Minnesota doesn't have such a justification. But, in retrospect, Minnesota might come out on the better end of this whole deal. Think about it. Green is a good player. Jefferson is a fantastic young player. Gomes is solid. These players are being added to a nucleus lead by Randy Foye and Ricky Davis. This team will be a good one, especially if they can keep these guys together and can get them a good coach to play a high-tempo style of basketball. On top of this, they have TWO extra draft picks, which will most likely be pretty good. The pressure is not on them though.

All of the pressure is on KG. Garnett is considered to be one of the best players in recent memory. He can put up double-doubles. The problem is that he can't carry a team. People always said that he never had a teammate, and to a certain level this is true. I would respond that LeBron didn't have a teammate, a D-Wade to his Shaq, and he got to the finals. So, look at that and reconsider. Anyway, this choking capacity that Garnett has developed will be canceled by two of the clutchest players in the game in Pierce and Allen. Expectations are high all around. The next two years will determine whether or not Kevin Garnett will be the hall-of-famer that so many people believe that he will be. He better be as Boston has pretty much sent away its future to win.

For the record, I've never found KG to be a compelling player, but that's because I'm a hater who likes Tim Duncan considerably more. I always found KG to be a shooting guard in a power forwards body. He takes too many outside shots and can get shut down when he gets into the block. KG's numbers are impressive, but Basketball is a team game. And KG hasn't been the best team player unlike Duncan, who is the consummate team player. Call me old school if you will, but I like team basketball. If I want to want dudes show off and flex, I can watch wrestling or Mr. Olympia competitions.