Garnett will try to adapt to what new season brings


Garnett will try to adapt to what new season brings

By now you know Kevin Garnett.

You know the intensity he brings to the court, the skill he displays in the post, and the leadership he provides in the locker room.

But you haven't seen Garnett play much of the center position in his career, basically, because he isn't one. He's got too much skill outside of the paint. This season, though, he's going to mix it up a bit. The C's are thin at the five, and KG is willing to fill in.

"I've been in this league like I said now coming on 17 seasons," Garnett said to CSNNE's Mike Gorman "There ain't too much I haven't seen. The five position is no different to me the four. As long as I'm on the floor, as long as I'm able to contribute, I could care less where I'm at."

Whether it's the five or the four, Doc Rivers has stressed once again to Garnett that he needs to shoot the ball more. It's not uncommon to see KG pass the ball to a teammate as opposed to offensively taking over a game.

"Working on that," KG said with a smile.

"I like to do the small things, get guys open, the dirty work, try to cover the board from all spectrums. I try to bring a presence to the game. Doc has a way he would like me to be versus who I am, and sometimes those clash. But he's the captain of this ship and I try to fulfill what he needs me to do. If that means shoot the ball more that's not necessarily shooting the ball more, it's being more aggressive is what I think the message he's sending to me.

"He always says you have to give up a little bit of the game for the betterment of guys on your team, and I'm the perfect example of that."

Since the arrival of Garnett, many other players have come and gone. One thing the core group has had though is chemistry. It's getting the new guys on the same page on and off the court that Garnett worries about more than on the court.

He essentially says that there have been players who have bought in and players who haven't, but when it comes to him, Ray Allen, and Paul Pierce, there's no chemistry loss there.

Those three could also be in their last season together. Instead of pretending like it's not the case, the Big Three are embracing it.

"It's reality, it's reality," Garnett said. "I think we all understand the significance of it. Not just that, but being with Doc. We're happy that he's got his situation out of the way and he's been here. All those things factor in to whether we're going to try and do this. But for this most part, yeah, this is the reality of it. When you look at all the things that are on the board or on paper sort of speak it could possibly be our last hurrah. More importantly, it's what we're going to do with it."

While this lockout-shortened season could be their last together, it certainly will be a tough one.

Asked about the compacted schedule, Garnett was quick to visibly show a sense of worry about it, followed by a deep breath. The schedule will call for rest in-between games, and that's something KG will have to get used to.

"If you know anything about me, resting is the one thing other than eating I don't do well. I don't know, my mind is always working.

"Looking at the schedule, the schedule is tough. I think it's going to be more of a -- obviously a physical grind -- but more mental than anything. if anybody has ever worked out in sand and stuff, it ain't the actual hill, the workout, that's the biggest dilemma, it's the mental part of getting through it."

But how much will the physical play in to the mental? Tired legs are tired legs, there's nothing you can do about it but rest. But in a season where rest is hard to come by, the C's could be in trouble.

As KG makes another face -- clearly visualizing it in his head -- he's not about to use it as an excuse.

"Our schedule is no different than anybody else's in the league. It's tenacious, it's crazy when you look at it, but it's something that everybody has to deal with."

Bradley's emergence as vocal leader speaks volumes about growth

Bradley's emergence as vocal leader speaks volumes about growth

BOSTON –  Terry Rozier was having a rough stretch where his minutes were limited and when he did play, he didn’t play particularly well.
Among the voices in his ear offering words of encouragement was Avery Bradley who knows all too well what Rozier was going through.
For all his time as a Celtic, Bradley has let his work on the floor do the talking for him.
But as the most tenured Celtic on the roster, his leadership has to be about more than just getting the job done, but servicing as a vocal leader as well.
For a player whose growth from one year to the next has been a constant, being a more vocal leader has been the one dynamic of his game that has improved the most during this past season.
And it is that kind of leadership that will carry into the summer what is a pivotal offseason for both Bradley and this Celtics franchise which was eliminated by Cleveland in the Conference finals, the first time the Celtics got that deep in the playoffs since 2012.
He is entering the final year of the four-year, $32 million contract he signed in 2014. And it comes at a time when his fellow Tacoma, Wash. native and backcourt mate Isaiah Thomas will likely hit free agency where he’s expected to command a max or near-max contract that would pay him an annual salary in the neighborhood of $30 million.
At this point in time, Bradley isn’t giving too much thought to his impending contract status.
Instead, he’s more consumed by finding ways to improve his overall game and in doing so, help guide the Celtics to what has to be their focus for next season – a trip to the NBA Finals.
While Celtics players have said their focus has always been on advancing as far into the playoffs as possible, it wasn’t until this past season did they actually provide hope and promise that Banner 18 may be closer than you think.
It was an emotional time for the Celtics, dealing with the unexpected death of Chyna Thomas, the younger sister of Isaiah Thomas, just hours before Boston’s first playoff game this season.
And then there were injuries such as Thomas’ right hip strain that ended his postseason by halftime of Boston’s Eastern Conference finals matchup with Cleveland.
But through that pain, we saw the emergence of Bradley in a light we have seldom seen him in as a Celtic.
We have seen him play well in the past, but it wasn’t until Thomas’ injury did we see Bradley showcase even more elements of his game that had been overlooked.
One of the constant knocks on Bradley has been his ball-handling.
And yet there were a number of occasions following Thomas’ playoff-ending injury, where Bradley attacked defenders off the dribble and finished with lay-ups and an occasional dunk in transition.
Among players who appeared in at least 12 playoff games this year, only Washington’s John Wall (7.9), Cleveland’s LeBron James (6.8) and Golden State’s Stephen Curry (5.2) averaged more points in transition than Bradley (4.7).
Bradley recognized the team needed him to be more assertive, do things that forced him to be more front-and-center which is part of his evolution in Boston as a leader on this team.
“It’s weird but players like Al (Horford) definitely helped me get out of my shell and pushed me this year to be more of a vocal leader,” Bradley said.
And that talent combined with Bradley doing what he does every offseason – come back significantly better in some facet of his game – speaks to how he’s steadily growing into being a leader whose actions as well as his words are impactful.