KG remains center of attention, at center

KG remains center of attention, at center
June 30, 2012, 11:16 pm
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Kevin Garnett's return in all likelihood means a return back to center - a position he hates to play.

Boston Celtics coach Doc Rivers, speaking prior to Garnett's decision to return to Boston after agreeing to a three-year deal, said he plans to keep Garnett in the middle.

"Unless we get a center," Rivers said. "Kevin can play either position. I don't think it really matters."

It does to Garnett, whose first words when asked about playing center usually go something like, "I hate it."

But Garnett has been among the more outspoken C's in discussing the need to sacrifice one self to bring about a greater good for the team.

That is why despite his disdain for the position, he refuses to sulk or make a big deal about it.

He goes out and plays well - arguably as well as any center in the East not named Dwight Howard.

After averaging 15.8 points and 8.2 rebounds per game during the regular season, Garnett was a dominant postseason force for Boston in averaging a double-double of 19.2 points and 10.3 rebounds per game.

Playing center, much like an NBA career in which he has spent more than half his life playing, isn't exactly what Garnett envisioned for himself.

But the position, much like his place among the all-time greats, is one in which he has gradually adapted and for the most part, accepted.

During this past season, Garnett reflected at times on a career that he knows all too well is drawing to a conclusion sooner rather than later.

Still, he showed the world this past season that he still had what it takes to remain relevant in talks about the game's top big men and maybe even more important, remain a leader both in his words and his works.

"Duration is everything, man," Garnett said earlier this season. "To be able still, to be playing on this level, it says a lot. It's not like I'm playing on some grand level, but I am playing on a decent level to where it's helping the team and I'm still trying to create different edges and different matchups and different mismatches night-in, night-out. And I still have a brain; I still know how to think this game. There's different formats of the game for me at this point. and I'm still enjoying the game. As long as those components are still a part, then I'm good."

But Garnett isn't coming back to be just a teacher to the next generation of Celtics.

He's far too competitive, too talented to be pigeon-holed into that role.

His lessons by example will be just as vital as those in which he spells out in plain English - with an expletive, or two, or three or thrown in - what it takes to be a successful NBA player.

And while Garnett will continue to reach various milestones and continue to play a role in the next generation of Celtics players, he's coming back for one thing only - another shot at a title.

"I got one more goal; I got one more goal since I've been here that I'm trying to accomplish with everybody else," he said. "I think it falls in line with everybody elses' goal. I don't think I gotta tell y'all what that goal is."