Kevin Garnett does not give his stamp of approval to just anyone. When a young teammate declines to take a piece of Garnett’s advice, Garnett just moves along, putting the teammate in his rearview because, well, if you don’t want to listen to an MVP who has been consistently great for more than 16 years, why would he want to help you?
When Garnett does approve of a young teammate, though, you can be assured he’s a worker. And Garnett gives Greg Stiemsma the nod of approval, saying he hopes the rookie is rewarded with a long-term contract. (CSNNE)
“Steamboat’s coming in, giving us what we need whether that’s from his effort, his fight every night; whether it’s blocking shots, rebounding, actually hitting the 15, 16-footers, being aggressive. That’s what we need from him,” Garnett said.
“He’s been big for us since we’ve been coming down this stretch; second half he’s been even more reliable. He’s playing good basketball. We’re all happy for him, just because you want to see the hard workers and the grinders of the league get an opportunity and he’s taking his.”
“I truly hope that Danny (Ainge, Boston’s president of basketball operations) rewards him at the end,” said Garnett of Stiemsma. “If not us, somebody at the end of the year, gives him something long term to where he can build off of, substantial.”
Stiemer, I’ve loved you almost from day one. But I definitely never expected you to average 16.6 minutes and 2.6 blocks per game during your past five contests, and I never envisioned you playing such a big role in Boston’s plans this season (though I guess the writing was on the wall, considering that Jermaine O’Neal entered the season as Boston’s only non-Stiemsma true center).
The Celtics are hoping Stiemsma won’t have to play such a big role for long, searching for another big man in free agency. But it’s uncertain whether anyone they find will be able to match Stiemsma’s production.
If they do, he’s all for it.
“I’ll welcome him to the team, and hope he can help us win more games,” Stiemsma said. “I’m not going to have any hard feelings or anything like that. This has been an amazing season for me, and I want it to keep going. I get to play with a great bunch of guys who have helped make me a much better player. Whatever is for the good of the team, I’m all for that.”