The Basketball Hall of Fame on Friday is slated to announce its finalists for the 2020 class, and the star-studded group is expected to include former Celtic Kevin Garnett, former Spur Tim Duncan, and the late Laker great Kobe Bryant.
“I think [Garnett] was a great teammate,” said Clippers coach Doc Rivers, who coached Garnett in Boston. “I don’t think that gets enough play. He was a phenomenal teammate. He was all about winning. His IQ was incredible. It was off the charts.
“And I’ve often said about him, he’s the greatest superstar role player ever. Like, he was a superstar, but he played his role for the team anyway, somehow. I don’t know why he did that, but he did it. He changed the culture of this franchise. He really did. We needed a guy like that to come to the franchise. And he did that. And it’s still here. It hasn’t left since. So that was all Garnett.”
The Celtics traded Garnett to the Nets prior to head coach Brad Stevens’s arrival, but Stevens said Garnett’s impact was felt in Boston well after his departure.
“He had a huge impact on everybody that was leftover that was on my staff because he was so good to all those coaches, and then all the players that were leftover as well that played with him,” Stevens said before Thursday night’s game vs. the Clippers. “He was the guy they always pointed to as the best leader they’d been around, on top of the fact that he was elite on both ends of the court.”
The official class will be revealed at the NCAA Final Four in Atlanta on April 4.
A Brown out
Celtics forward Jaylen Brown sat out because of a left calf contusion. Brown said he suffered the injury when he was kneed in the calf by Rockets guard Russell Westbrook midway through the fourth quarter of Boston’s 116-105 loss to Houston on Tuesday.
Brown, who is also dealing with two ankle injuries, had been hopeful he could play against Los Angeles, but he will now have a week off to recover before Boston faces the Timberwolves next Friday.
Williams on track
Stevens said center Robert Williams, who has been sidelined since Dec. 6 because of a hip bone edema, remains on track to take part in his first practice next Wednesday.
“I don’t know if he’ll be limited in that or not but he’ll be able to do a lot of it,” Stevens said. “Then they’ll just build him up for the next 10 days and hopefully give him the green light after that. Minutes restrictions will probably be pretty intense for the first however many weeks. But that’s good. It’s not like he was playing 30 minutes a game anyway. If we can get him back into this fold and get him in that kind of rotating spot with those other guys, that helps our team a lot.”
Celtics point guard Kemba Walker entered Thursday averaging 29.3 minutes over his last three games after being sidelined with knee soreness. Stevens has said that the team will try to limit the wear and tear on Walker as the regular season drags on.
“We’ve met with him and the medical staff today and talked about it,” he said. “Obviously, the medical staff, and him, and all of us will get together and continue to make sure we maximize him now, but that he’s ready to roll when it’s all said and done.”