I feel like Kevin Garnett's resurgence is something that I'll never quite get tired of writing about this season. I certainly won't ever take a healthy Garnett for granted ever again. When I think about why I'm enjoying this renaissance (a word Mike Gorman used while describing KG on the broadcast last night) so much, I think first and foremost about what a healthy Garnett does for this team's title chances. In my book, they skyrocket. Sure, defense and rebounding will always come first for Garnett, as they should, but we can't deny how effective Garnett's been on the offensive side of the ball this season.
Garnett's blending an inside game and outside game together quite well, as, heading into last night's game, he was averaging 5.4 shots from 16-23 feet, and 3.5 shots at the rim, according to Hoopdata. His jump shooting percentages have been consistent during his time with the Celtics, but last season he wasn't nearly as effective at the rim in terms of field goal percentage. He shot a respectable 65.2 percent at the rim last season, but that number has jumped up to 76.8 percent this season. I think we can credit that to a trio of reasons: Better physical health, Rajon Rondo's passing, and having Shaquille O'Neal beside him.
I think it goes without saying that Garnett's at his best when he's mixing things up offensively. The jump shot is effective when the C's are looking to spread the floor on offense and when he pops out after setting a screen for Rondo or one of the Celtics' other perimeter players, but we obviously don't want to see him solely as a jump shooter, as he's more than capable of handling himself in the paint. His assortment of jump hooks and short, one-handed fade aways are some of the best weapons in his arsenal. When you put them all together, you've got one heck of an offensive force, and we're seeing that in Garnett this season.
In terms of why I'm enjoying Garnett's resurgence, what he means to the team comes first, but closely following that is the fact that it's simply fun watching him play this season. It's a joy to watch him sprint up and down the floor and sky for and throw down the passes Rondo lobs up to him. It's fun watching him swat shots on defense, scream in a primal manner, and pound his chest passionately. It's fun just watching him be athletic again. At this point, it's fun just watching him jump really high, even if he fails to convert an alley-oop, or grab a rebound, or block a shot. Just the fact that he's getting up there this season is rewarding enough, because it reminds us how far he's come from where he was, or appeared to be, last season. It's fun watching him dominate opponents again. It's fun watching him snare 17 rebounds against two of the better rebounders in the game in Joakim Noah and Carlos Boozer. It's fun watching him respond to Noah's silly comments with inspired play on the basketball court, because he can do that this season. It's just fun watching Kevin Garnett be Kevin Garnett again.