NBA Legend Kevin Garnett Details How Steph Curry, Damian Lillard, and Others Revolutionised the Game

Published 02/09/2021, 8:00 AM EST
Feb 4, 2021; Dallas, Texas, USA; Golden State Warriors guard Stephen Curry (30) celebrates making a three point shot against the Dallas Mavericks during the second quarter at the American Airlines Center. Mandatory Credit: Jerome Miron-USA TODAY Sports


Kevin Garnett is one of the greatest players of his generation. Through the course of his long career, Garnett won an NBA championship, a league MVP, and was a multiple-time All-Star. Garnett was one of the best players in the NBA while he was playing, and was part of one of the greatest teams in the NBA – the 2008 Boston Celtics.

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Kevin Garnett on the state of the NBA

But what does KG think about today’s NBA? Kevin Garnett spoke to the New York Times recently. When asked about the current state of the NBA, he noted that the game is not as physical as it used to be. He believes that the officials call the game much more strictly than they did in the 80s and 90s, where physicality was allowed to a greater degree.

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“The game is at another level…Because these players do that for 48 minutes. I don’t think guys from 20 years ago could play in this game. Twenty years ago, guys used their hands to control players. Now you can’t use your hands. That makes defense damn near impossible. Can you imagine not hand-checking Michael Jordan? Naw. “

Timberwolves coach Flip Saunders left and Kevin Garnett posed for a photo after he was introduced to the Twins Cities media at Target Center Tuesday February 24, 2015 in Minneapolis, MN.] Jerry Holt/ Jerry.Holt@Startribune.com(Photo By Jerry Holt/Star Tribune via Getty Images)

Garnett added that it is easier to be an offensive player in the NBA as compared to a defensive player now. This is mostly down to how the game is called. However, Garnett added that to be a truly great offensive player in this NBA, you need to have creativity and the ability to create chances unique to you, citing the example of Dirk Nowitzki, who did that during Garnett’s playing days.

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He said, “The fact that you can’t touch players gives the offensive player so much flexibility. Defensive players have to take angles away and stuff like that. But if you have any creativity and ambition, you can be a great offensive player in this league. The fadeaways, one-leg runners, the one-leg balance shots — that’s stuff that Dirk Nowitzki brought to our game.”

KG has love for Steph, Klay, and Dame

Garnet concluded that players like Steph Curry, Klay Thompson, and Damian Lillard have changed the NBA. Now the league has a greater focus on three-point shooting and outside scoring, rather than driving to the paint like it did in the past. Garnett praised the state of the NBA as it stands, and noted that it was in a good place at the moment.

WASHINGTON, DC – JANUARY, 16: Former Boston Celtics teammates Brooklyn Nets forward Kevin Garnett (2) and Washington Wizards forward Paul Pierce (34) joke around during game action on January 16, 2015 in Washington, DC. (Photo by Jonathan Newton / The Washington Post via Getty Images)

“And Steph Curry revolutionized things with being able to shoot it from distance with such consistency. Klay Thompson. Dame Lillard. These guards changed the game. I don’t know if even the guards from 20 or 30 years ago could play in this time right here. It’s creative, it’s competitive. It’s saucy. You’ll get dropped!… The game is in a great place.”

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Is Garnett correct about the state of the NBA right now? Unlike players from his generation, Garnett seems very praiseful of the direction the game has gone in. While he also acknowledged the strictness of the game, he praised players who have been able to adapt to the rules and changed the game as it stands.

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Aaditya Krishnamurthy

1062 articles

Aaditya Krishnamurthy is an NBA & NFL journalist for EssentiallySports, before which he worked at BusinessWorld magazine. He has been a fan of Basketball for over 10 years now, since Shaquille O’Neal was a Phoenix Suns player. During his time at Symbiosis School for Liberal Arts, he started a sports magazine for the college called the Overtime Tribune and hosted the Overtime Tribune Podcast until he graduated.

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