Is Kevin Garnett the Milwaukee Bucks’ new secret weapon?
Bucks center Thon Maker suggested as much Tuesday when he credited the NBA legend for his improved play in his team’s first-round playoff series against the Boston Celtics, according to ESPN’s Nick Friedell. Not only has Garnett worked out the Bucks at various points this season, he also posted a personal hype video on Instagram that is motivating Maker to raise his game.
“He posted it on his Instagram, and somebody showed it to me,” Maker said after the Bucks’ shootaround, per ESPN. “And then I watched it and I sent it back to him and told him how motivational it was and said I liked it. So then we started talking.”
Maker played just one minute in the Bucks’ losses to the Celtics in Games 1 and 2, missing both of his field-goal attempts and grabbing only one rebound. Garnett then posted the video last Wednesday. Maker responded with 22 points, 7 rebounds and 10 blocks in 55 combined minutes in Games 3 and 4. His improvement was instrumental in the Bucks winning both contests and evening the series at 2-2.
Maker expanded on the crucial psychological lessons he learned from Garnett.
“The biggest thing is having that attack mindset on both ends of the floor,” Maker said. “With him, he doesn’t care who you are in front of him if you’re playing against him. On the defensive end, (defending) your shot and protecting your teammates. The biggest thing when it comes to your teammates, him dealing with his teammates, was always touching a guy, telling him, ‘Stay up,’ keeping the guys positive.
“And then on the offensive end, just getting everybody involved, but also looking to attack because his man would be back. That’s what he was telling me: ‘If your man is back, shoot it. And tell them, How dare you back off?'”
Garnett bonded with the Celtics in 2007, the moment he arrived in Boston that summer. His key role on the Celtics’ 2008 NBA championship-winning squad and subsequent title-contending teams made him a favorite among just about everyone connected with the organization.
Many of these folks might ask: “So what gives, KG? Can you knock off the inadvertent Buck assistance for a little while?”