Well it’s been a few days, since the latest KG return speculation has been updated, so like clockwork Reggie Miller was happy to provide us with an update, after a visit to the Dan Patrick Show this morning. (h/t commenter MajorTom)
Miller says that if the Celtics get past the Bulls, Kevin Garnett will play. Miller says he’s not saying he talked to KG, but that’s what Reggie believes.
This is a situation where I generally would throw little credence into the speculation except for one pivotal piece of information. Reggie and Kevin are neighbors out in Malibu. The guys clearly have a good relationship, KG even led the way in trying to convince Reggie to come out of retirement and play for the green last year. So while Reggie may say the guys haven’t talked, it may not be a reach to guess that Reggie is “in the know” a little more than all of us are, fans and media alike.
The fact of the matter is we know Garnett has consciously held off of a surgery he likely needs badly in hopes of coming back. I think before Leon went down, there was absoutely no real chance that KG was coming back. The team thought they had enough big guys at full strength (Baby, Perk, Powe, Moore, a returning Scal) to feel like they could make a run.
Now however the situation has changed. Powe is done. Mikki Moore hasn’t brought anything to the table, in fact he takes things off the table when he’s out there. That has left the Celtics with three big men that Doc can trust and one of them was this team’s 12th man during last year’s playoffs. They may make it out of the first round with this skeleton crew but probably won’t be able to get that much further without reinforcements.
I wrote a couple weeks ago that KG returning at 70 percent would likely be a detriment to this team in the playoffs. With the way things have shaken out in the past two weeks, I’m not so sure about that anymore. Two of the Celtics top three bigs, Kendrick Perkins and Brian Scalabrine are prone to foul trouble on any given night as we saw in Game 4, severly limiting Doc’s options. Right now, the Celtics don’t have a 4th big man they can count on to give them 15 minutes a night and not have a +/- in negative double digits.
If KG can get to the point in his recovery where he can handle those 15 minutes, like he did in the first four games he returned, it would be a major boom for this team’s chances just due to the fact that his presence on the floor at any strength is an improvement over Mikki Moore right now. KG knows it, Doc knows it and apparently Reggie Miller knows it too. It’s obviously not a guartantee to happen but it’s nice to realize that the Green are holding out hope for the possibility as well.
The C’s still have a long way to go to beat the Bulls, but if they do, buckle your seatbelts as this may just be the tip of the iceberg as far as The Big Ticket’s return speculation goes.