Avery Johnson is a man who's worn many hats in the NBA. He spent 15 years as a player, split among six different teams. He coached the Dallas Mavericks for four seasons, contending every spring for a Western Conference title. He spent two years as a TV analyst for ESPN and ABC. And now he's back in the coaching game, at the helm of the New Jersey Nets.
So from all angles, he's seen a lot of Kevin Garnett over the last 15 years. And prior to the Nets' preseason game Wednesday night against the Celtics at the TD Garden, he spoke quite favorably about the Celtics' All-Star forward.
"He looks better this year," Johnson said. "He's much healthier. He's moving around, and he's covering more ground. He's running the floor with ease."
Garnett has suffered from a variety of knee injuries over the last 18 months, and his mobility has been hampered ever since the right knee sprain that sidelined him during the 2009 playoffs. Johnson has watched Garnett's recovery since that troubled spring of '09, and he's noticed the improvement.
"It was a struggle, it looked like last year, when I was an analyst watching him," Johnson said. "He wasn't Kevin Garnett. I see him getting back to being Kevin Garnett, but with the idea that the window is closing. You can't be Kevin Garnett your whole career. At some point, you're going to hit the wall. But I think he still has a year or two left in him at a high level."