Ian Eagle had a lot to say about the Brooklyn Nets’ upcoming season. He spoke about the coach-player dynamic that Garnett brings to the table as a passionate player who demands the best play from his teammates.
I think Garnett is the X-factor for two reasons; one is what he brings to the team: experience, passion, and an edge to the court, and the second aspect is recognizing that he’s not in his prime and the ultimate goal is what this team is able to accomplish come playoff time. Kevin’s understanding of how to manage minutes, being honest with himself and the coaching staff, and recognizing that ultimately he’s not going to be able to log the kind of wear and tear that he’s accustomed to will be the X-factor in what this team ultimately accomplishes.
His presence already has changed the whole vibe around the team. There’s a certain level that you get to in this league where you get the respect of teammates and coaches, but it’s rare that players on a team don’t want to let another player down. Normally, that’s reserved for the coach-player dynamic – Gregg Popovich in San Antonio is an example in my mind where the players don’t want to let him down – but Garnett is the rarity now in that he brings that whole feeling as a player; I think the guys on this team realize that there’s a small window of opportunity, and they need to handle their business the right way because this isn’t a five-year plan.
While I agree that Garnett is key to bringing this team to the championship level, I do not believe that he is the X-Factor for the Nets this season. Rather, Deron Williams will be the most important player next season because he is the point guard and his coach, Jason Kidd, was a point guard who knew how to lead his team to wins. Kidd can inject energy into Williams to encourage him to be the team’s leader. Williams is also the favorite to be the team’s captain and can play more minutes than Garnett because he is younger.