A pair of former All-Stars with championship rings coming to Brooklyn to help the Nets find championship glory of their own.
At least, that's the plan.
But is Garnett still a superstar?
At first blush, it's easy to say yes. He's a former NBA Most Valuable Player, former Defensive Player of the Year, a 15-time All-Star, a four-time first-team All-NBA selection, and the heart and soul of the Boston Celtics' title team in 2008.
But here's the thing: Garnett's MVP Award was 10 seasons ago, in 2003-04 with the Minnesota Timberwolves. He was a monster, averaging 24.2 points, a league-best 13.9 rebounds, five assists, 2.2 blocks and 1.5 steals. His player-efficiency rating was an NBA-leading 29.4 (an average player grades out at 15).
But he's not that guy anymore.
Last year with the Celtics, Garnett sat out 14 games with various aches and pains and averaged fewer than 30 minutes a game for just the second time since his rookie year. He averaged 14.8 points, 7.8 rebounds, 2.3 assists, 1.1 steals and 0.9 block per game.
His PER was a still-above-average 19.2.
Solid player? Yes. Superstar? That's debatable.
Garnett did crank it up a notch in the playoffs against the New York Knicks last spring. In the six-game defeat, Garnett pulled down 13.7 rebounds a game (the highest average of any player in the postseason last year) and averaged 12.7 points a night while shooting 50 percent from the floor.
But Garnett has clearly moved to another phase of his career. He was the rising star, the ascending superstar, the superstar, the aging superstar. Now, at 37 years old, he's the former superstar.
With almost 48,000 regular-season minutes under his belt and more than 5,000 more postseason minutes logged, there's not a situation that can come up on the floor that Garnett hasn't seen, done or heard about.
He's proven to be a savvy veteran capable of taking teams and players under his lengthy wings and schooling them in the ways of the NBA.
The problem is actually doing it regularly anymore. In the first three games of the season, two of them Brooklyn losses, Garnett is struggling to find his way. He's shooting 33.3 percent from the floor, has only made two trips to the free-throw line and is averaging 7.3 points and 7.3 rebounds per game, to go with a couple of assists and a steal a night. He's playing just 25 minutes, barely more than half a game.
His PER in an admittedly microscopic sample size is an equally microscopic 6.9.
Superstar? That's barely holding on to a roster spot level play.
Garnett will walk, or possibly dance screaming and pounding his chest, into the Hall of Fame as soon as his five-year clock has ticked down at the end of his playing days, whenever that may be.
But he just doesn't have the physical tools to be considered a superstar in the NBA any longer.
Fortunately, the star-studded Nets don't need him to be a superstar. But they do need him to be a more productive role player than he's been early on.
Phil Watson is a freelance commentator and journalist who covers the Brooklyn Nets , New York Giants and New York Yankees for the Yahoo Contributor Network. He is also editor of Golden Gate Sports and holds an editorial position at HoopsHabit.com.
- Sports & Recreation
- Brooklyn Nets
- Kevin Garnett
- Boston Celtics