The pitfalls of being a veteran.
Nets General Manager Billy King knew trading for veterans Kevin Garnett and Paul Pierce was a risk. Both players have a lot of mileage on their bodies and have experienced a plethora of nagging injuries in recent seasons.
Things came to a bit of a head on Monday when Jason Kidd announced that Garnett would miss all of this week’s games due to an ailing back.
“We felt that we could hold him until Saturday, and we’ll re-evaluate and see before we leave for Dallas,” Kidd told reporters before Monday’s 108-95 win over the Phoenix Suns.
Rookie forward Mason Plumlee held the fort for the Nets with 14 points and 11 rebounds in the win.
Garnett, 37, who has missed 16 games, including Monday’s win, will likely miss at least five to seven more contests this year. Truth be told, Garnett not participating for a while could be the best thing for the Nets.
Garnett missed half of the Celtics’ final 24 games last season. That proved to be a brilliant strategy as Garnett emerged healthier and more energized in Boston’s first-round series against the Knicks. The future Hall of Fame forward averaged 12.7 points on 50 percent shooting and 13.7 rebounds in the six-game series.
Without Brook Lopez and Reggie Evans, Garnett’s absence will leave the Nets shorthanded in the paint. Plumlee and Andray Blatche have played admirably, but another body is needed if the Nets are to survive a playoff series against bigger teams like the Pacers and Bulls.
Garnett’s leadership is also important. He’s the vocal leader and has always led by example, playing relentless defense.
“He’s our anchor defensively. He’s the loudest. He’s the most vocal defensively,” said Deron Williams. “We definitely miss that.”