Saturday night provided a welcoming sight for the Brooklyn Nets, as future Hall of Fame forward Kevin Garnett finally made his way back out on the court after missing the previous 19 games.
And even though his numbers this season haven’t reflected much production — 6.7 points and 6.7 rebounds per game — Brooklyn has to be thrilled that Garnett is finally back in uniform for just one unique reason that goes beyond the numbers.
Just as he’s always done throughout his outstanding career, Garnett still brings that fiery leadership quality that is essentially immeasurable. With the playoffs right around the corner, there’s no better time to get a huge presence like that back on the floor as opposed to remaining on the bench in street clothes.
But as a result of Garnett’s return, a dilemma now arises for coach Jason Kidd. Mason Plumlee, who had been playing exceptionally well and became a major contributor as a part of the starting unit during Garnett’s absence, will now be headed back to the bench.
The thought of a rookie losing playing time to a veteran of Garnett’s pedigree being a concern for a team sounds about as problematic as being given beer on a winery tour, but this is the challenge the Nets now face.
The best solution for Kidd is to make an effort to give Plumlee as many minutes alongside the starters as he possibly can. They are the ones that he’s been given the majority of his playing time with, and changing that could hinder his progress as well as the progress of the Nets as a whole.