WALTHAM, Mass. The Celtics practice was over and that same voice
that was barking out instructions most of day, was still at it.
Only now his focus was on the young guys, often the toughest players
to connect with.
But this is Kevin Garnett.
When he barks, young players bite their tongues and listen (most of
That was indeed the case on Sunday when Garnett spent some
post-practice time with Boston's young bigs.
And to their credit, they were more than eager to soak it all in.
"For him to step out at the end of practice, knowing he's probably
tired and just speaking upon us about things we can do better and work
on means he's a great teammate," said Jared Sullinger, Boston's
first-round pick in June's NBA draft out of Ohio State. "He's been
great so far. I don't expect it to change. It means a lot to us young
Some of the younger players were apparently not communicating enough
in Sunday's practice, so Garnett did what KG tends to do and that is
to show and tell them exactly what he's looking for and what the C's
Paul Pierce has known Garnett since they were teenagers, so he's well
aware that Garnett's talent is only trumped by his vast knowledge of
Having that kind of wisdom and being so willing to pass it on to
younger players, is yet another character trait that sets Garnett
apart from others.
"Every team doesn't have that; that veteran leader that has been
around the block a few times and is going to accept them, take them
under their wing and give them that experience," Pierce said. "He's a
great teacher. He's one of the best to ever play the game. When
Garnett talks, who as a young player doesn't want to listen? And if
you're not listening, then shame on you because this is one of the
best who has ever done it."
In addition to Sullinger, Fab Melo was attentive to Garnett's teachings as well.
"Oh man, it's great," said Melo, who like Sullinger was was drafted in the
first round last June. Melo came out of Syracuse. "Everyday, I watch him play and try to learn everything that he does. After practice, he come to us and explains the stuff we had problems
with. It's great."
But with those explanations comes expectations, Melo said.
"He's tough," Melo said. "With him, if you make a mistake you can't
make the same mistake on the next play because he's going to get at
you. So if you make a mistake, you have to make sure you don't make
the same mistake."
That's not a problem for Melo or Sullinger.
"You know he's doing all this to help you get better, to make us a better team," Sullinger told CSNNE.com. "That's why I said earlier,
he's a great teammate."
But not all the big men that have come through Boston since Garnett's arrival have been so eager to embrace his teachings.
"Those guys don't stick around long," Pierce said. "I have seen those guys, and they're not around here. And you see why."
Melo has heard the tales of such players, which is why he has made it a priority to learn as much as he can from Garnett whenever the opportunity presents itself.
"Maybe some people have so much pride and don't want to listen to people," Melo told CSNNE.com. "But this is a great opportunity for me and I'm not going to get that in my head. He plays the way he does, because he's the best."