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BEST TIMBERWOLVES PLAYER Minneapolis 2006 - Kevin Garnett

Readers' Choice: Kevin Garnett

His precocious talent forever changed the way society regards high school basketball players. Not yet 30 (that happens at the end of next month), he ranks fifth in total minutes played among active NBA players. In other words, Garnett is a grizzled eminence who happens to be younger than the Twins' Torii Hunter or the duo in the White Stripes. The incredible number of rebounds, points, assists, and steals he has already amassed stamps him as the most versatile player in the history of the game. But now, as he surveys the huge gap in talent between him and the second-best player on his team—and the chasm in capability between the Timberwolves and teams that are legitimate contenders for a league championship—what seems most impressive about Kevin Garnett is his mental toughness. Discussing whether it is necessary, or humane, to trade him has become a favorite parlor game among even casual hoops fans, and must be like Chinese water torture to a player who has steadfastly proclaimed his loyalty to the Wolves. Yet as he suffered through his team's worst performance since he was a teenage rookie, KG continued to grab more rebounds than anybody, to rack up more than 20 points per game while unselfishly passing for a plethora of assists, and to effectively defend both inside bruisers and outside gunners. He is, quite simply, a class act who makes every trip down to Target Center to watch him play a story you can tell your grandkids someday.

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