The second Kevin Garnett steps on an NBA court next season, he will pass Kevin Willis and Robert Parish for the longest career in NBA history, having played 22 seasons.
The question is, will he?
The mind is willing but the flesh is weak, according to a new report from Steve Aschburner of NBA.com on KG’s plans — which largely remain a mystery.
As he has done for most of his career, Garnett, who turned 40 in May, has gone off the official grid and even has the Timberwolves’ honchos guessing. Tom Thibodeau, Minnesota’s new coach and president of basketball operations, has spoken to the 7-foot power forward since being hired after the season but has not gotten a definitive answer. The same goes for owner Glen Taylor, who said Wednesday in Las Vegas he had dinner with Garnett about a month ago.
“I just asked him, ‘Kevin, what are you going to do?’ His answer was, ‘I’d really like to play next year ‘cuz I’d like to go out knowing we got into the playoffs,’ ” Taylor said. “Then he said, ‘I don’t know if I can.’
“I asked him, ‘What does that mean?’ And he said, ‘I don’t know.'”
Garnett is battling knee issues, something to be expected after a long career running up and down a hardwood floor. Garnett played in just 38 games and averaged less than 15 minutes a night in those games. However, his real value is off the court with the Timberwolves young core such as Karl-Anthony Towns and Andrew Wiggins. KG has a legendary work ethic and can be a role model and mentor.
At this point, the Timberwolves will let Garnett decide at his own pace.
Garnett is set to make $8 million next season.
Ben Simmons ended Summer League on a high note.
Throughout his time in Utah and Las Vegas he showed tremendous promise and passing skills, but also the need for a lot of development. In his last game Sunday night, he had his best game in Vegas with 15 points (on 5-of-15 shooting), 10 rebounds, and six assists. The Sixers beat the Heat in this final game.
It’s going to be interesting to watch Simmons adjust to better defenders and the NBA game. He’s got to learn to become a more efficient scorer to keep those passing lanes open. He’s also just 19 and is going to have a long, impressive career.
At Summer League, Ben Simmons has shown his potential as a fantastic playmaker as a 6’10” point forward — one with a lot of development left to do, but with a world of potential.
The Sixers just signed Dario Saric, a 6’10” point forward with playmaking skills good enough to be named MVP of the Olympic qualifying tournament where his Croatian team qualified for the Rio games.
How do you fit those two pieces together? Throw in Jahlil Okafor, Nerlens Noel, and Joel Embiid and it gets more complicated. The Sixers have got some nice young pieces (thanks mostly to the pushed aside Sam Hinkie), and Sixers coach Brett Brown told Jessica Camerato of CSNPhilly.com that’s a good problem to have.
“I don’t know,” Brown said Friday of where he will play Saric. “You’ve got an abundance of bigs. Ben Simmons and Dario are very similar. We have a few veterans coming in. We’ve got Sergio [Rodriguez] and T.J. [McConnell] as who you’d stamp off on and say that’s a true point guard.
“I say that very much with a tone of excitement than trepidation. How we use him is going to be a challenge but fun, a great challenge. Dario and Ben can play together. They’re two really good players. How this plays out, how it takes shape, I think is a good challenge and one that we’re excited to learn more about.”
This is not the final roster Brown will be tinkering with, Noel and Okafor are still on the trade block, other moves are possible.
It’s going to be interesting to see how all the pieces fit together. Having multiple quality playmakers and passers is a good thing — see Golden State and San Antonio in recent years — so long as there is good shooting surrounding those guys (and from those guys). There is a growing amount of raw talent on the Sixers roster, but it needs a lot of shaping and it’s going to take years.
Brandon Ingram looked pretty good in Summer League. He showed off a smooth skill set — good handles, quality shooting stroke — but clearly needed to get stronger, plus was just trying to figure out how to blend his game into the NBA style.
With D'Angelo Russell sitting out the final Lakers game of Summer League, Ingram seemed to find that groove a little better Friday night.
He dropped 22 and showed an ability to put the ball on the floor and drive, knock down threes, and use his handles to create enough space to get off his shot. It was a positive note the No. 2 pick can build on heading into the rest of summer and training camp in the fall.
Lamar Patterson, the two guard out of Pitt, wasn’t even supposed to make the Hawks roster last season. That he did was a testament to his hard work (he transformed his body), and guys who put in that kind of effort are the kinds coaches and GMs like to take gambles on. Patterson was even part of the Hawks rotation at the start of the season, but that faded fairly quickly, and he bounced between the NBA and the D-League.
This summer, the Hawks decided to waive him.
The Kings picked him up off waivers and are giving him a shot. It’s a low-risk gamble as Patterson is on a minimum contract for less than $1 million.
The upside for Patterson is he can pass the rock. Also, he has defensive potential. But the man has to develop a reliable shot — last season he shot 35 percent overall and 25 percent from three. He had a PER of 5.1. If he can develop his shot like he has other parts of his game he could become a role player down the line. The Kings will see if that can happen.