Kevin Garnett Interview
This past weekend, the Minnesota Timberwolves took a trip to New Jersey to battle the Nets. Minnesota won by a wide margin, and after the game InsideHoops.com editor Jeff Lenchiner and some local and visiting media surrounded Kevin Garnett for an interview. There was some talk about this specific game, but most of it was interesting stuff about the Wolves in general. Here's what was said:
Question: The first half today was a struggle, was it just a matter of you not getting the looks you wanted?
Kevin Garnett: Too much coffee. Too much coffee and Gatorade. It's a hell of a mix. If you're ever tired in the morning, just try that mix, and tell me what you think.
Question: Talk about your defense, today and recently.
Kevin Garnett: The last couple of practices, all we've been doing is a lot of defensive things. We've been going over some drills that make all of us have to communicate. Kev (Kevin McHale) has these old Boston drills, where you all have to talk to each other, and interact, and it's helped us. it's helped us not just in practice but we are able to carry that same practice onto the floor.
Question: When you were on the bench today, the team still did well, and the lead increased. Is it encouraging to see that?
Kevin Garnett: It's encouraging to see not only our team getting better, but guys like Eddie (Griffin) coming back, having a strong game. He's from this area, the Philly area, went to school in Jersey, good to see him have a good game. It's good to see Sam, who's been battling injuries after injuries. It was good for our whole team. It was good for (Trenton) Hassell get a good start. It was good for our whole team tonight. We've been in the pits for a minute, now we're starting to turn that corner.
Question: Does getting rest during the game and playing fewer minutes actually make a difference if you have a game the very next night?
Kevin Garnett: Minutes are an issue; 30 is definitely different from 45 or 40. I could care less about all this tangible stuff, man, I just care about that W. But to answer your question, yeah, it makes a big difference.
Question: Should Sam Cassell be back in the starting lineup soon?
Kevin Garnett: I think what Mac's doing is bringing him back slowly. I think he's starting to gather his rhythm. He's starting to find his rhythm a lot better. It was just a progresssion thing. I think the more he progresses, you'll see him in the lineup, early. He knows he's going to play the bulk of the minutes. He looks good. He looks like the old Sam.
Question: Where do you think this team is, compared to where you hoped or the way you started?
Kevin Garnett: The beautiful thing about when you go through a slide is that you learn from it. Not just saying that you learn from it, but applying the things that you have learned. I think one of the biggest things we've taken from this is that the small stuff that doesn't have to do with basketball, we have to leave to the side and play, and lately we've been doing just that. We control our own fate, and we know that. We know we're better than how we play sometimes. It's a little bit of an embarrassment when we come out and play crappy. So we take a lot of pride in that. It's really on us to turn this thing around. I think this last month we've done just that. We've pointed ourself in the direction that we want to be, and I think we're starting to head towards that. Right now we're in a nice rhythm.
Question: Did the coaching change make a big difference?
Kevin Garnett: Going from Flip to Kev, obviously you don't want to see someone ever lose their job. For me it's probably a little more difficult, because other than Bill Blair, Flip is all I knew. But having a relationship with Kev, Kev simplifies a lot of things. He likes to go at mismatches a lot more than Flip. Practices are to the point. We're in there, and we're out of there. So you're dealing with a coach, and you're dealing with a guy who's actually experienced NBA basketball from a player's perspective and actually goes about it that way. There's similarities, but at the same time there's differences. When you play for Kev, he demands that respect and that presence. We know that in order for us to turn this around, it doesn't matter how many coaches they bring in here, assistants, weight trainers, whoever, we're the ones that are going to have turn it around. And I think just took that responsibility on ourselves.
Question: There's been talk that Flip might be a candidate to coach the Knicks. What are your thoughts on that?
Kevin Garnett: I would love to see Flip get back into the league. I think he can definitely still coach in this league. I think he will be in this league quicker than sooner. I've always shown my love and my loyalty towards him. I haven't kept my ear to the streets, on the New York, New Jersey area.
Question: Can you picture Flip fitting in with the Knicks?
Kevin Garnett: Flip's a player's coach, and I do know one thing, he motivates better than anybody I know. His system is very oriented around the point guard. He and Steph (Marbury) had a great relationship when Steph was in Minnesota. And one thing about Flip is that he teaches. I've told him that his strengths, to me, and this is my personal feeling, is he always taught the game, and he broke it down from detail to detail, and not a lot of coaches do that. So I think for the young guys they got there, for the talent he got there, I think he'd be great for that situation.