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KG: The New Schilling?

RedsArmyAdmin February 23, 2010 Uncategorized 13 Comments

Curt kg

By Ryan Thomas

Late in his career, Curt Schilling realized he wasn’t the same top of the rotation ace who could bust batters inside with 95 mile-per-hour fastballs, then make them chase nasty splitters in the dirt.  2,800-plus innings over 16 Major League seasons had taken a toll on his body (not that it was a heralded physique to begin with) and he needed to realize the same approach wasn’t going to get batters out anymore.

So he dialed back one tick, mixed in a changeup and a curveball, and relied on his best assets: control and knowledge.

2006 and 2007 were Schilling’s “reinvented years.”  He threw a bevy of offspeed pitches and barely touched 90 on the gun some nights, but when it counted, he came through and helped win the Red Sox their second World Series title in four years.

Begrudgingly, it took him almost a year to realize he wasn’t the old Schilling and that he needed to evolve and become a different type of pitcher, someone who got you out on smarts and savvy, not on heat and filth.

Kevin Garnett seems to be at a similar crossroads.  His body has over 40,000 NBA minutes on it.  Prior to his Celtics days, he banged with bigs in the Western Conference for over a dozen years, which wreaks havoc on any body.

Over the last three seasons, we have watched KG tumble away from elite status, much like we watched Schilling plummet post-2004.  His knees have abandoned him to the point where he has struggled to get up for the receiving end of alley-oops, to the point where forwards like Rashard Lewis burn him baseline late in games.


But could Garnett be turning the corner?  Recently, KG went up for an ‘oop.  Instead of trying to slam it in and getting rejected by the rim (common this season), he finger-rolled it in for an easy two points.  That single finger roll indicated that, maybe, this Garnett we’ve been seeing the past few weeks is a savvier, more grounded player.  A player who is now realistic, who knows his limitations and must adjust to his aging body in order to get 100 percent out of whatever’s left.

Does he realize now that he can’t always get up for those Garden-shaking, Rondo-fed alley oops?  It seems like it.  Is he a guy that will contribute more on help defense and rely on his teammates instead of challenging 5-foot-11 guards at the top of the key, only to get burned?  I hope so.

KG is not a shell of himself.  That’s not the point.  He’s just not 2008’s Kevin Garnett.  Anyone who has watched Celtics basketball the last three years and has a semi-functioning brain can tell you that.  The guy just doesn’t move as quick, he doesn’t react the same.  He can’t get way up anymore.  He no longer runs the floor like a Gazelle.  This is something even a James Posey hug can’t cure.

All negativity aside, Garnett is still an important cog to this Celtics team and its success.  He’s still the smartest player on his team, much like Schilling was.  He’s still got the guts of a soldier and the balls of a champion.

His game may have slowed down, but that doesn’t mean he’s not capable of running through the Eastern Conference with numbers 9, 20 and 34 flanking him.

Look for Garnett to discover his curveball a little more and then watch in earnest to find out if the New Big Three have one more run in them.

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  • http://profile.typepad.com/srswish Sr. Swish

    Nice analogy. I only hope your prediction comes true

  • DRJ

    You might be right. But there’s another point of view. The last 2 times the Cs faced the Magic, KG had played in only 3 and 9 games since his return, respectively. Today’s Knicks game will be his 15th game back.
    Given the total of time off he’s had (going back to last season) 3 or 9 games was not enough to get back into game shape. I think THAT’S where age really plays a role… it takes longer to come back from injury when you’re older.
    But none of this is any indication of HOW FAR BACK KG will come. There’s no reason, that I can see, to think that he won’t come ALL THE WAY BACK. Age won’t stop that from happening…. it just slows it down. So it’s possible… likely even… that he will in fact get back to the old KG. That he doesn’t have to change his game. That come the playoffs, KG will be in top form, ready to tear up the place no less than in 08.

  • jared

    Im getting pretty annoyed by all the “KG is this or that” BS. Lets face it, its still only been a few weeks since he came back, hes improving, and neither you nor anyone else, probably not kg, know where hell end up in a few more. So these blanket statements of KG is this, KG will never be himself again, hell have to do a Curt Shilling (oh come on) KG is that, its getting on my nerves. I know its not an attention grabber, but how about talking about how we have no clue how this thing is going to go?

  • Mark Wilson

    Jared? Is that you? I loved your Subway commercials, though I must say that even after you lost all that weight, you still had a ‘todd body’. You know, the body of a toddler, no muscle tone, kinda gross looking. But hey, good to know you like the Celtics!

  • http://profile.typepad.com/redsarmy Red’s Army

    I’ll give you that we don’t know exactly how this is going to go. But I still think Ryan’s got a point here.
    KG is at the tail end of his career. Every player at this stage has to adjust his game if he wants to extend his career.

  • http://profile.typepad.com/6p01157060540b970b Orb

    You’re just baiting TTR, right?

  • DRJ

    That too :)

  • Perry

    I would not be shocked to learn one day that there was something management had never not told us about his injury. After all the never got their story straight last year.
    But let’s assume his injury is not a debilitating one. I don’t how you can determine the window is closing on his career. Now if you want to make the case for minutes played I would counter by comparing his game to let’s say…Jordan.
    We all know MJ was able to pivot from a power game to being a facilitator and jump shooter. KG however was never known to have an exclusive power game. He’s a great jump shooter, and his post up on the blocks is effortless because no one can block the turnaround. Rebounding isn’t about high how you can jump, it’s about position. KG is a real smart player around the basket, and he’s a clever passer – one of the best at his position I’ve ever watched.
    The problem I see is his lateral movement at the defensive end. We may never see the ol’ KG in that aspect, but then again he has the length to recover if someone blows by him as did R. Lewis. There’s no reason why he can’t another productive five years in this league and be a factor like Kareem was at end of his career.

  • Jon with no H

    as long as he doesn’t also become a blathering, wannabe political stooge I’m down for a reinvention

  • http://with-malice.com/ Don (With Malice)

    “KG: The New Schilling?”
    O… you didn’t mean simply that he’s old ‘n’ hobbled?

  • KGHaTTR

    HA – with a semi functioning brain!!! Where is TTR?? Does he not post when we’re going well??

  • Joe

    You mean in the sense of being a loser early on until joining a good team & turning into a loud mouth who lost a lot of people’s respect?
    Then the answer is yes.

  • KGHaTTR

    Ahhh he’s back….