If there was any question about who the MVP was Kevin Garnett answered all of them in Game 7 against Sacramento. That was a performance worthy of the NBA MVP award. Lot of talk was Garnett could have received the award either of the last two years, and if you look at his numbers and the players around him it is a very strong argument, but it was not meant to be, but this year all that changed. Even with the additions of Sam Cassel and Latrel Sprewell they knew coming in whose team this was, and with them around Garnett stepped his game up even further to play at the level expected by the fans and himself.
After leading the Wolves out of the first round (finally) KG led Minnesota through a grueling seven game series against a very playoff savvy Sacramento team (even though they seem to have trouble with Game 7’s three straight years bounced in said game) that despite an injury to key reserve Bobby Jackson we’re very primed for a championship run. After splitting the first four games, Minnesota claimed victory in the very key Game 5, but then after sleep walking through Game Six and getting blown out, the Timberwolves went back to their home den, where they had lost only once in the playoffs, and behind KG’s 32 points, 21 rebounds, and 5 blocked shots stormed their way into the Western Finals.
Garnett has had the NBA worlds eyes on him since coming out of high school and being a lottery pick by Minnesota, after a couple mediocre seasons (very expected among high schoolers) he turned into one of the premier do-everything-big-men in the league. After signing a very controversial $100 million deal, and having his sidekick former teammate Stephon Marbury traded away, Garnett began taking the Timberwolves into the playoffs. But getting there seemed to be all the Wolves could manage losing in the first round 5 straight times in all sorts of ways, swept by San Antonio and losing in 5 games to Seattle. Year after year their draft brought them nothing (where is Maurice Taylor, former Michigan State star?) then after losing many draft picks in the Joe Smith catastrophe the Wolves decided last off-season something had to change so the trading began. After first singing free agent Cassell, they sent Joe Smith to Milwaukee, and injured Terrell Brandon to Atlanta and got Sprewell from
New York, and Earvin Johnson from Milwaukee. Not thinking that was enough they spent big bucks on Michael Olowokandi to be their center for years to come, after his dismal regular season he has played just about none in the post-season and seems destined to always be one of those “Worst #1’s Ever”. Despite that failure the team as a whole came out firing and had the best record for most of the first half of the season before faltering later on, but thanks to Sacramento’s collapse late Minnesota surprisingly to many grabbed the top seed in a very competitive Western Conference.
Through it all Garnett’s 20-20 nights seemed to be more and more common but all the attention was on former MVP Tim Duncan, and the Hall-of-Fame quartet in L.A., there were the Wolves clawing their way to the Lakers trying to overcome stiff odds, against a Laker team that was built for this very series and seems to only be held back by their own lethargic play. Seems like tough going in the land of lakes against their former team but the fans up north know that as long as “Da Kid” is in the line-up they got a shot and as Garnett has learned it’s far better to be talking about these problems in round 3 instead of round one.