What Can the Boston Celtics Realistically Expect from Kevin Garnett on Defense?

Ben Shapiro@benshapironyc1 Analyst IIIDecember 9, 2011

Kevin Garnett is known for his defensive intensity.
Kevin Garnett is known for his defensive intensity.Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images

Now that the NBA season is not just going to happen but is rapidly approaching its Christmas Day debut, it's time to start to ask pertinent questions about the product that fans will see on the floor.

If you're a fan of the Boston Celtics, then the upcoming season promises to be very interesting. The Celtics are about to begin what is most likely the final season of the era of "The Big Three."

With both Kevin Garnett and Ray Allen in the final year of lucrative contracts, the Celtics enter the shortened 2011-2012 season with not only a "win now" mission but also a "when do we cut our losses?" question as well. 

The Celtics aren't going to run anyone out of the gym. They're not a slow plodding team, but this Celtic team won't ever be confused for the "Showtime" Lakers of the 1980's. With that being the case, the Celtics will have to win the bulk of their games by playing solid defense. 

Solid defense isn't done with frequent steals and spectacular blocked shots. Solid defense is played by adhering to tried-and-true, disciplined defensive techniques. Not leaving your feet on fakes, not gambling to get steals and instead keeping your man from beating you off the dribble. 

The Celtics possess one player with the pure athleticism to provide for spectacular defense: Rajon Rondo. Rondo has the speed, long arms, coordination and leaping ability to come up with steals, bat away passes and even block shots. 

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Kevin Garnett used to be that type of defender, but like an aging pitcher who's lost a few miles per hour on his fastball, Garnett is going to have to learn to shut people down in a less spectacular and less flashy manner.

Garnett has never been afraid to mix it up with his opponents.
Garnett has never been afraid to mix it up with his opponents.Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images

Kevin Garnett is one of the NBA's great defenders of the past 15 years. A nine-time first team all-defense honoree and the 2007-2008 NBA Defensive Player of the Year, Garnett has a defensive acumen that will grant his Hall Of Fame access.

He is slowing down, though. He's not the spectacular leaper he once was. His footwork is a touch slower, too.

The Kevin Garnett that fans will watch in the upcoming 2011-2012 season will rely on his knowledge of the game, his intensity, his ability to get inside his opponent's head, and of course, his height.

Matching up against Garnett won't be fun for anyone. He's going to play hard and make you work for both your position on the floor and any shot you want to take as well.

The Celtics and their fans probably shouldn't expect Kevin Garnett to win any Defensive Player of the Year awards in the upcoming season, but KG isn't going to turn into a soft defender anytime soon either.  

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