What Minnesota Papers said in May 2007 about the KG Shut Down


Pioneer Press
April 10, 2007

Wittman and Garnett discussed the forward's playing time and the coach's desire to play Smith, McCants and Foye more down the stretch, which requires a delicate balance because Garnett is competitive and averse to having his playing time reduced.

Before the Toronto game, Wittman said it doesn't make sense to play Garnett his average of almost 40 minutes a game with just a handful of regular-season games left. Garnett was frustrated after he played 32 minutes, his third fewest of the season, in a two-point loss to the Hornets on Saturday night.

"I don't prepare every season to play 76, 70 games," Garnett said after Monday morning's shootaround. "If they want me to do that (play reduced minutes), then they'll have to come and ask me that themselves. But whenever I prepare, it's for 48-plus minutes. Nothing more. Nothing less than that. If they want to play the young guys and sit us (veterans) down, then so be it, but tell me that ahead of time and be up front about it."

Garnett said he believes Smith, Foye and McCants can learn more from playing with him on the court, not from having KG watch them play from the bench. "If anything, young guys are going to get better when they play with you versus without you, but hey, they say they know what they're doing here."

St. Paul Pioneer Press (MN)
Copyright 2007 Saint Paul Pioneer Press
May 12, 2007
Section: Sports

With five games left this season, Garnett is headed home to Malibu with a quadriceps injury. This decision was made shortly after he complained to Taylor and McHale about his minutes being reduced because the team wanted to give the younger guys more playing time (to secure a high draft pick).

St. Paul Pioneer Press (MN)
Copyright 2007 Saint Paul Pioneer Press
April 13, 2007
Section: Sports
RICK ALONZO, Pioneer Press

Timberwolves coach Randy Wittman said Thursday he takes Kevin Garnett at his word that the star forward stopped playing because of an injury and that there wasn't a bigger message being delivered.

The team's front office already had said Wednesday, when the right quadriceps injury was suddenly announced, that this wasn't a ploy to secure a lottery pick in the NBA draft. If the Wolves don't get for a top 10 pick, pending the results of the draft lottery next month, it would go to the Los Angeles Clippers, as part of a 2005 trade.

The timing of all this raised questions, considering Garnett recently had voiced frustration about the team trimming his minutes.

After a game last week, Garnett said he didn't want to play a limited role. Wittman met with Garnett and explained he wants the team's young players to play more and gain experience. Later, Garnett believed the younger players could learn more playing alongside him.

Garnett has said he doesn't prepare to play with anything less than 100 percent effort for a full 82-game season. Garnett played just 32 and 34 minutes in his past two games, among his lowest totals of the season.

"He's got more heart than anybody else that I've seen of wanting to play and play every game like it's his last," Whitman said. "I respect guys if they do have that mentality. It's not an exhibition game where you play one quarter and sit a quarter. This is the regular season."

The announcement regarding Garnett's status came less than 48 hours after the Wolves were eliminated from playoff contention.

Last season, the Wolves shut down Garnett for the final six games of the regular season because of right knee tendinitis. Ricky Davis was sidelined, too, because of a strained left groin. In reality, the team held out Garnett and Davis to give playing time to younger players.

The Wolves were out of contention for a playoff berth last season, too, and in the final game of the season, they assured themselves of a top 10 draft pick when they lost to the Memphis Grizzlies. The Wolves needed to lose the game to guarantee that the Clippers would not receive the conditional first-round pick from the 2005 trade.

This time, the Wolves lost Wednesday's game against Dallas without Garnett, and they might be without him for their remaining four games. The Clippers aren't saying publicly that they're upset about the Wolves' situation.

"I would definitely say you've got to take care of your own business, but it's disappointing if an organization doesn't want to win," said Clippers forward Elton Brand, not commenting specifically on the Wolves, of teams trying to improve their draft status by going less than all-out to win games, as quoted by the Los Angeles Times.

"We've got teams coming up that don't have a chance to be in the playoffs," Brand said, "but I don't expect them to roll over for a draft pick or whatever. An organization, coaches and players should always want to win regardless of what went on earlier in a season."

Garnett's absence against Golden State next week could hurt the Clippers on another front, because they are locked in a race with Golden State and the New Orleans/Oklahoma City Hornets to make the playoffs. Golden State might have an easier time beating the Wolves than they would if Garnett played.

The Clippers began Thursday trailing Golden State by a half-game in the race for the Western Conference's eighth and final playoff spot. The Clippers' lead on the Hornets was a half-game.

The Hornets beat Minnesota 96-94 last week, a game in which Garnett played 32 minutes, his fewest minutes since the all-star break. After Minnesota went into the fourth quarter trailing by five points, Garnett didn't play until 5:42 remained and the Wolves trailed 86-80.

After that game, Wittman said he wanted his young players to learn to play in tough situations.

St. Paul Pioneer Press (MN)
Copyright 2007 Saint Paul Pioneer Press
April 12, 2007
Section: Sports

In a statement released by the team, Garnett said: "After talking with (McHale) and our medical staff, I realized that it's in my best interest to put my body first. I need to take this matter more seriously than I have been. I want to make sure that I correct this for the future, so that it is not an ongoing problem."

The Wolves shut down Garnett for the final six games of last season, saying he had right knee tendinitis. But with the team out of the playoff race, public perception was that the move was made to protect a conditional draft pick and to provide more playing time for young players.

The Clippers are due to receive Minnesota's first-round pick if the Wolves fall out of the top 10 following the results of the May 22 NBA draft lottery. The more Wolves losses, the better their odds of keeping the first-round pick.

1 comment:

Doctor Dribbles said...

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