- Mike Mazzeo, ESPN Staff Writer
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But lately, as we’ve written before, they’ve missed him.
The Nets are 3-3 in their last six games, giving up 107.7 points per 100 possessions.
Garnett’s on-court defensive rating this season is a team-leading 100.6.
Why is all of this important?
Well, Garnett could return to the lineup on Friday night, when the Nets face the Detroit Pistons at Barclays Center.
Garnett has been out with back spasms.
“He’s anxious [to get back out there],” Paul Pierce said after the Nets allowed the New York Knicks to shoot 60 percent from the field on Wednesday night in a 29-point blowout loss. “You guys know Kevin. He’s a competitor. He wants to be out there.”
The Nets are 0-3 against the Pistons in 2013-14, so they could certainly use Garnett.
Rookie Mason Plumlee has emerged in Garnett’s absence and proven himself to be an asset in Nets coach Jason Kidd’s rotation.
Plumlee leads all rookies in Player Efficiency Rating, leading some to wonder whether he has the credentials to capture Rookie of the Year honors. (Philadelphia Michael Carter-Williams is the favorite to win the award).
Still, he’s no KG.
What the Nets are going to get out of the 37-year-old veteran when he comes back remains to be seen.
Garnett had just started to really hit his stride as a defensive anchor and mid-range shooter (57 percent field-goal percentage since Jan. 1) when he got injured.
He wasn’t supposed to be out this long, but as Kidd has reiterated time and time again, the goal is for Garnett to be healthy and contributing in the playoffs.
At the same time, it will be important for him to get some regular-season game minutes under his belt before then.
Question: What are you expecting out of Garnett when he returns?
In case you missed it: The Nets’ home vs. road splits are pretty staggering.
The Big Fundamental: From ESPN’s Numbers Never Lie Twitter account: “In 16 yrs Tim Duncan has 15 50-win seasons. That’s more than the Bobcats, Raptors, Nets, Clippers & Warriors have combined ALL TIME(7)!!!”
Up next: Nets vs. Pistons on Friday night
2dMatt Walks, ESPN.com
8dESPN Stats & Information
8dMarc Stein and Mike Mazzeo