Remember when the Kevin Garnett rumors first began to swirl around the Hub? A sizable and vocal contingent of fans vehemently opposed acquiring Garnett if acquiring him meant losing Al Jefferson. Garnett's career was in its twilight, and, anyway, he couldn't win and never seemed to produce in the clutch. A smaller, less vocal contingent of fans compared Garnett to Bill Russell, and thus favored the deal. The former contingent howled with laughter upon hearing the Garnett-Russell comparison.
Both contingent's were right. Garnett had clocked a lot-0-minutes on those legs, but, in his one healthy season with the Celtics, KG reminded just about everyone who saw Russell play that he was indeed a throwback to the days of #6. There were some (announcers even) who swore Kevin Garnett was Bill Russell, at least during the 2007-08 NBA season.
Fast forward two years, and the same fans who compared KG to Russ are now just happy KG isn't the second coming of Bill Walton, which is to say a "one-and-doner." That's how I had KG pegged. I mean, didn't he choose to wear that darned number? That god forsaken #5? And with it came the curse, the Walton curse. But now, all of a sudden, KG seems to be back. He seems to have risen from the ashes. And let's be frank here, the timing is good. If KG plays 85% of what he did during the 2008 NBA Finals, the Celtics win in 6.
But The Ticket is not all the way back, not yet.
There's still plenty of room for him to improve.
Does he have it in him?
Can he elevate his game a la Kareem Abdul Jabbar during the 1985 and 1987 Finals?
That's what I want, and that's Celticdom is hoping for. And if the Bill Russell comparisons are fair, KG needs more than one ring to justify the comparisons. He needs to remind Kobe that there's more than one superstar in the 2010 NBA Finals.