KG remains center of attention, at center

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KG remains center of attention, at center

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."

NBA's a global game, and the Celtics are all in

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NBA's a global game, and the Celtics are all in

BOSTON – The NBA has become more of an international game as teams scour the globe in search of the next big basketball talent.

While some franchises such as the San Antonio Spurs have been poaching talented international players for years, other franchises have been more locked into adding American-born ballers.

The Boston Celtics have paid close attention to the best international players for several years.

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But more often than not, additions to their roster through the draft have come from the college ranks with an occasional international player added via free agency.

This season's team will definitely have a certain international flavor to it with overseas additions coming by way of players they drafted and signed as free agents to bolster what should be one of the deeper teams in the East.

Boston has six rookies with guaranteed contracts for this upcoming season, four of which were born outside of the United States.

And of those four rookies, three of them – Guerschon Yabusele (16th overall pick); Ante Zizic (23rd overall pick) and Abdel Nader; 58th overall pick) – were selected in the 2016 draft but didn't join the team immediately. 

Yabusele who is originally from France, spent most of last season in China and came to the States and played briefly with the Celtic’s Gatorade League affiliate, the Maine Red Claws. He will be among the bevy of young players competing for minutes off the Celtics bench. 

Zizic, born in Croatia, spent last season playing in his native country as well as in Turkey. The 7-foot center will come into training camp competing for playing time, possibly as Boston’s starting center.

And then there’s Nader, a G-League all-star as well as the G-League’s rookie of the year last season. The Egyptian-American wing player showed promise in each of the last two summer leagues which is in part why the Celtics signed him to a four-year, $6 million deal with only the first year fully guaranteed. 

They each have different strengths that only add value to a Boston squad that’s being built to play just about every style of play imaginable.

But the Celtics didn’t limit their pursuit of international talent to just the draft.

Boston has also signed German Forward Daniel Theis. 

Unlike the international players drafted by Boston, Theis is a bit of a mystery to most Celtics fans.

Last season he averaged 10.7 points and 4.6 rebounds for Brose Bamberg of Germany, while shooting 41.0 percent from 3-point range and 59.8 percent from the field.

And that season ended with a German championship, just like the previous two seasons for the 6-9, 243-pound forward who is expected to come in and compete for playing time off the bench for a Celtics team that’s looking for