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Kevin Garnett's defense: born in Boston

Joe Camporeale-USA TODAY Sports

Back in July, at the Nets press conference introducing their three acquisitions from the Celtics, Kevin Garnett admitted to Ian Eagle and Jim Spanarkel that his defensive reputation is a new phenomenon, new at least since he was traded from Minnesota to Boston.

"We played the defense in Boston," Garnett told the YES announcers. "That was one of the things ... I don't want to say I didn't do before, but it was a semi-priority at times before I got to Boston. I got to Boston and I totally, totally fell into a defensive role that obviously wasn't my preference but one that I fit and one that I played out perfectly for that team and that team needed that. So I'm going to bring some of that."

Indeed, Tim Bontemps took a look at how KG's teams fared defensively, using team defensive efficiency rankings – how many points a team gives up per 100 possessions. What he found proved out what Garnett said in July.

In Boston, the Celtics defense, under Tom Thibodeau and Lawrence Frank, finished first, second, fifth, second twice and sixth from 2008 through 2013. Not so much in Minnesota, where his teams never got above sixth and mostly were mediocre, finishing 15th or 16th four times in the last seven years he played there.

KG gives a lot of credit to Doc Rivers --and his staff-- for his transformation, which he expects will continue in Brooklyn.