On the KG silent treatment

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On the KG silent treatment

By Rich Levine
CSNNE.com

When Kevin Garnett speaks, his teammates listen.

Unless they don't, in which case Garnett never speaks to them again.

Is that a little too cut and dry?

Maybe, but that's the impression we're left with after Doc Rivers' Monday afternoon meeting with the media.

If you haven't heard, after Monday's practice, KG held a private workout at the far end of the gym with rookie big men Luke Harangody and Semih Erden. Admittedly, I wasn't there, but from the video it's obvious that this wasn't your average "workout."

Garnett was coaching them.

Have you ever seen those old Red on Roundball segments from the '80s? You know, the ones where Red Auerbach calmly and playfully runs players through basic drills?

This was nothing like that.

KG was, as you can imagine, KG. He was Mike Singletary meets Rick Pitino vocal, animated, intense and intimidating. He held nothing back as he schooled the pair in the wonders of pick-and-roll defense, regardless of the fact that he likely doesnt know either very well and one hardly speaks English.

Garnett was just his same fiery, unrelenting self. The same KG you see every single time he takes the court.

After the session, Rivers was asked to comment:

"He helps the ones he likes," Rivers said. "Kevin is great. Kevin tries to help every big in here. If that big doesn't listen to him one time, he'll never speak to him again. Literally speak to him. That has happened a couple of times. Those two guys that he did that to are no longer here and that may be one of the reasons."

At first, this hit me as strange. You know, just the thought of the undisputed leader of the Celtics completely ostracizing a teammate literally ceasing to speak to or acknowledge him just because he didn't want to take KG's advice one time.

That sets an awkward tone, creates tension in the locker room and messes with the mind of a guy who's only an injury or two away from having to contribute at a very real level.

Its a slippery slope, too. What if theres more than one player on a given team who doesnt listen? Does KG just stop talking to all of them? That can't be good for business.

But the more I thought about it, and honestly, it didn't take me very long to flip flop, the more I understood KG's actions.

First of all, Kevin Garnett is arguably one of the 25 greatest players in NBA history.

I think we forget that sometimes. Or maybe that's just me.

I don't know if it's the fact that I never got a chance to see him enough in his prime, or if my memory's been clouded by watching him limp through the entire 2009-10 season, but sometimes I misremember just how legendary the guy is. Were talking literally one of the all-time greats. To his credit, he's more than embraced the concept of Boston's Big 3, but the truth is he's in a different league than Pierce and Allen when it comes to NBA legacy. He is legend.

Over the course of his career, Garnett has certainly had to come to grips with the fact that most, if not all, of his teammates will be less capable than him on a physical level. And he probably knows that just as few can ever match him on the mental level. Like all superstars, he's adjusted his reality and learned to be more tolerant and understanding of other players' abilities.

But the one thing Garnett doesn't, and never will, tolerate are players who don't share his drive for self-improvement. The need to get better and be better and do whatever it takes to get there.

And if you're unwilling to take advice from Garnett regardless of his tone, or the circumstances then that's proof you don't have what it takes. I mean, it's not like the guy's advising you on which girl to marry or which car to buy. He's trying to teach you a specific skill that a) directly affects your life and b) he understands better than just about and anyone in the world, and you can't swallow your pride? Then KG has no use for you. Especially at this point in his career; especially considering what he has with this Celtics team.

Garnett loves basketball, but he still treats it like a job. His job is to win, and he's more driven to achieve that than maybe anyone who's ever played.

But this is a team game; Garnett knows he can't do it by himself. So he builds an army of guys who can best help him do that. He instills in them the values, priorities and motivations that he knows will give them the best chance to get there, and prays to God it sticks.

When KG's coaching up Erden, Harangody, Mikki Moore or Patrick O'Bryant, he's not looking for a new friend, or a new partner in crime or even to mold a future NBA All-Star. He's looking for pieces to his championship puzzle. He's looking for the guys who get it; the guys who are smart enough to let him make them better.

Not every player is built like that. Not everyone has the mental toughness, confidence, dedication and drive to exist in that atmosphere. But if you don't, you just don't have a place on Kevin Garnett's Celtics. And you probably dont have any place in this league.

So, yeah, in a perfect world, would you like KG to look past the shortcomings of his less-capable, more-dogmatic teammates, play nice and keep everything kosher in the locker room? Sure. But in this world, asking for a different Kevin Garnett is asking for a different Boston Celtics team.

And considering where they were before he showed up, that's a world no one except for the likes of Mikki Moore and Patrick OBryant is ready to deal with.

Rich Levine's column runs each Monday, Wednesday and Friday on CSNNE.com. Rich can be reached at rlevine@comcastsportsnet.com. Follow Rich on Twitter at http:twitter.comrlevine33

Pistons to honor Hamilton, who had impact on several Celtics

Pistons to honor Hamilton, who had impact on several Celtics

AUBURN HILLS, Mich. -- The Detroit Pistons will retire the jersey number of former UConn star Rip Hamilton tonight, an instrumental figure in the Pistons’ success in the early 2000s that included an NBA title in 2004.
 
Although Hamilton never played for Boston, his impact can be felt within the Celtics locker room.
 
Boston’s Amir Johnson spent his first four NBA seasons as a teammate of Hamilton's in Detroit.
 
In that time, Johnson acknowledges how many of the positive things folks associate with him come from lessons he learned from Hamilton.
 
“He was so relentless when he ran,” Johnson told CSNNE.com. “I remember working out with him one summer. For him to even get his shot off, he sprints full court, goes back down shooting shots, and he just kept doing this over and over and over again, full court sprinting . . . To see that as a young kid, and at his age, just working hard like that, it was great to see.”
 
James Young grew up in nearby Rochester Hills, Mich., so he watched Hamilton’s scoring prowess up close and personal.
 
And as he continued to evolve as a player, Young would see Hamilton during the summer months while attending Hamilton’s basketball camps.
 
“I was there every year, won MVP a few times,” Young told CSNNE.com. “He’s a great guy, a great player.”
 
And, like Hamilton, Young has a lanky frame for an NBA player, which was among the many reasons Young acknowledged Hamilton as being one of his first significant basketball influences as a youth.
 
“For sure,” Young said. “His mid-range game was crazy, great shooter. He was always consistent.”
 
And that consistency has paid off in the highest honor an NBA franchise can bestow upon a player.
 
“That’s big time,” Johnson said. “He’s a champion, great father, great baller. To have his jersey retired is an honor. To see the success he had in the league, and to see his jersey retired with the greats, it's definitely an honor. I’m glad I’ll be there to see that. Kudos to him. He’s a hard worker. Had a great career. I had my high school jersey retired, but to get your NBA jersey retired, that’s great.”
 
Hamilton played 14 seasons in the NBA, nine of which were with the Pistons. A career 17.1 points per game score, he averaged 18.4 with Detroit and was named an Eastern Conference All-Star three times (2006-2008).
 
Although he is known as one of the greatest mid-range shooters of his era, Hamilton began to expand his range over time. During the 2005-06 season, Hamilton shot 45.8 percent from 3-point range (most of them being corner 3’s), which led the NBA that season.  

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