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Kevin Garnett explains why players from 20 years ago wouldn't be able to compete in today's NBA

Kevin Garnett

In a recent interview for the New York Times, KG reflected on the league’s state today.

Former NBA player and a true legend of the game Kevin Garnett has seen some basketball in his lifetime and knows the game inside and out. In an interview for the New York Times, he talked about multiple things from his career, anecdotes from his time in the NBA, but Garnett also reflected on the state of the league today.

The game is at another level

Even though most older players don’t support the younger generation and believe things were better back in the day, Garnett is not one of them. Garnett is convinced most players, predominantly guards that played 20 years ago, wouldn’t be able to compete in the game today. The biggest reason behind that is the NBA banning hand checking, which entails there is no way those players would stop the players from this generation.

"The game is at another level. I know you said that you made the team with Vancouver, but I want you to get on a court, sprint corner to corner, stop on a dime and shoot a 3. I want you to do 10 of those. Then I want you to focus on how tired you are. Because these players do that for 48 minutes. I don't think guys from 20 years ago could play in this game. Twenty years ago, guys used their hands to control players. Now you can't use your hands. That makes defense damn near impossible. Can you imagine not hand-checking Michael Jordan? Naw."

Kevin Garnett, via New York Times

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Players now have more freedom on offense

There is a big difference between the era Garnett played in and the one now. The most significant difference is the change in rules, which enabled players to be more creative and have more freedom on offense. Garnett says several players revolutionized the game by introducing new moves, and their ability on offense impacts games.

"The fact that you can't touch players gives the offensive player so much flexibility. Defensive players have to take angles away and stuff like that. But if you have any creativity and ambition, you can be a great offensive player in this league. The fadeaways, one-leg runners, the one-leg balance shots — that's stuff that Dirk Nowitzki brought to our game. And now when I watch Joker play, it feels like he has taken that Dirkness and mixed it with his own talent. And Steph Curry revolutionized things with being able to shoot it from distance with such consistency. Klay Thompson. Dame Lillard. These guards changed the game. I don't know if even the guards from 20 or 30 years ago could play in this time right here. It's creative. It's competitive. It's saucy. You'll get dropped! A [expletive] will cross you over and break your A.C.L. these days. The game is in a great place."

Kevin Garnett, via New York Times

It’s great to hear Garnett is one of those older players who can appreciate everything the young guys bring to the game. It’s important to respect all the players from the past because they paved the way for this young generation to take it to the next level. Garnett acknowledges and wants everyone to know that he understands there is a big difference in the way the game was played and what makes this generation great in what they do.


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