A few years ago, you couldn’t have a conversation about the best anything, without mentioning Mr. Garnett. Scorer, defender, all-around player, whatever, he was at the top of the list. Or at least a viable player argument.

What’s more, you couldn’t have a conversation about somebody’s “5 favorite active players” without hearing his name. When in doubt, throw KG on the list. Who could beef with that?

The passion he played with made him one of, if not the most admirable guy in the League. We loved it. It transcended any possible bias. The intensity, the fervor, the energy. The loyalty to his team, even when though, at times, it was clear he was a “Mac standin’ around a bunch of PCs.” He was the game in its purest form, especially in a league dogged by the lazy stigma….

…But the bigger they are, the harder they fall, and the demise is real, no doubt; it’s been hard to watch. It’s just painful to see a guy who used to roam the floor, capable of playing all five positions, relegated to under 30 minutes a game, looking like Joe Smith.

The athleticism that made him The Big Ticket is gone. Along with it is not just the production — because yes, his minutes are understandably down — but more importantly, the effectiveness. Even when he’s on the floor, he just can’t do the things he used to. A step late on rotations, an inch away on shots he once sent into the stands, lacking the elevation that once let him finish over anybody in the lane. He’s cracked the 20-point mark just NINE times this year. Chew on that.

Yet, there was still a school of folks who believed in The Kid. I was one myself.

Check out the full piece over at SLAM.

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