- Tom Haberstroh
When Kevin Garnett left Farragut Career Academy for the NBA, he blazed a trail for Kobe Bryant, LeBron James, Dwight Howard and other teens looking to cash in on their talents. Not only did "The Kid" make history by becoming the first youngster in 20 years to forgo college for the NBA, Garnett has etched his name in the books as one of the greatest all-around big men ever to play the game.
His résumé bears no holes. He owns a championship ring. He won the defensive player of the year award and also earned an MVP. He remains the only player in the modern era to stand 6-foot-10 or taller and average six assists per game in a season (he's listed at 6-11). His three-year stretch from 2002-03 to 2004-2005 was the stuff of legend: He averaged 22 points, 13 rebounds and five assists in each season and never missed a single game. And we haven't even considered his sneer rate, which is unparalleled in today's game.
As he enters the twilight of his career, will we ever see anything like him?
Actually, yes. His name is Blake Griffin.
Tom Haberstroh writes that Blake Griffin's elite offensive game already resembles that of a young Kevin Garnett, most notably because of his passing ability. Griffin's defense isn't yet at KG's level, however.