KG's Rookie SeasonOctober 15, 1995
Timberwolves vice president Kevin McHale is trying to add a strong veteran influence to the team. Experience often translates into victories. That's usually how it works. But the Wolves' younger generation insisted on not being left out of the process Saturday night. Kevin Garnett, Mark Davis and Jerome Allen gave the Wolves a peek into what could be a bright future with impressive performances in the Wolves' 106-98 exhibition victory over the Milwaukee Bucks at Barnett Center.
Garnett, playing in his first NBA exhibition at 19, was the featured attraction for the crowd of 4,564. His 13 points, three assists and three rebounds showed he might be ready for a quick ascension to the pros directly from high school. ``It still hasn't sunk in yet that I'm in the NBA,'' Garnett said. ``Me and friend of mine were talking about that the other day. To me, it's just like playing some ball.''
Wolves coach Bill Blair wanted to give the rookies a chance to get the jitters out of the way. What he saw might have surprised him. Garnett showed poise, Davis showed a flash of the spectacular, and Allen showed he might be able to run the Wolves' offense when needed. ``I'm really pleased with our young guys,'' Blair said. ``They give us a different look than we've had before. We're much quicker and that's really important for us.''
Davis scored 19 points in only nine minutes of action. Allen played 21 minutes and had two points, five assists and no turnovers. But all eyes appeared to be on Garnett, who got a surprise visit from his mother. Mrs. Garnett and a friend drove to the game from Minneapolis without telling her son. ``I tried to get his attention, but he didn't see me,'' Mrs. Garnett said. ``He was really focused on what he was doing.''
It is obvious Garnett could be a special story this season. He was the only Wolves player pictured in the souvenir game program for fans. Milwaukee's Glenn Robinson was the Bucks' featured player in the program. Coincidence? Or just an early attempt to get Garnett ready for the big time? When Garnett got up to check in at the scorer's table with 2:29 left in the first quarter, fans started to buzz. The crowd gave him a loud ovation when he stepped onto the court to replace Doug West.
Garnett missed his first shot, a short jumper, but he converted a fast-break layup moments later off a pass from Darrick Martin. More cheers. Garnett remained in the game until 3:43 remained in the second quarter. He had nine points, including a three-pointer, and two turnovers. He appeared exhausted when Davis replaced him. Davis used the final 3:43 to make a major statement for his potential role with the club. He made his first attempt, a leaning bank shot off the dribble.
Davis ended the short stint with a team-high 12 points, including a three-point play and a desperation three-pointer inside the halfcourt line to beat the halftime buzzer.
Garnett and Davis combined to score 21 of the Wolves' 33 points off the bench in the first half.