No player has looked more revitalized than Kevin Garnett. After Brook Lopez went down, a lot has been asked of the Nets' big men, and Brooklyn really needed KG to be KG. The man they call the Big Ticket has stepped his game up big time in 2014.
The numbers tell quite a story.
In the 28 games that Garnett played this season prior to the start of the new year, opposing teams were almost daring him to shoot, and his jumper just wasn't falling.
Garnett shot just 36.4% from the field, with a 98.1 Offensive Rating and a 104.5 Defensive Rating. Not coincidentally, the Nets were just 10-18 in those 28 games.
Visually, KG's shot chart over that span looked like a scene from Dexter:
Yeah. It's not pretty.
However, new year, new Nets, and new KG. Or maybe old KG. Just not old KG.
In the seven games Garnett's played in 2014, he's shooting 68.4% from the field, with a 108.7 Offensive Rating, and a superb 87.1 Defensive Rating, and the Nets are 7-0.
His January shot chart through seven games looks like a warm spring morning.
The 68% shooting is nowhere near sustainable, but the Nets don't really need it to be. It's a great sign, however, that even in his 19th season, Garnett isn't quite done yet.
More notable is the improved defense since he moved to center, which seems like it's much more sustainable, and also much more crucial to the Nets' success.
Garnett's defensive rebounding has been terrific all year.
His 30.5% defensive rebound percentage is third-best in the NBA among players with at least 30 games played, just 0.2% behind league-leader DeMarcus Cousins.
All in all, the rumors of Kevin Garnett's demise have been greatly exaggerated. In fact, lately he's given the Nets everything they could ask for, and so much more.
Can he keep it up? That remains to be seen. However, if the Big Ticket keeps playing at this level, the Nets will be a force to be reckoned with come playoff time.