Plans to have Kevin Garnett mentor rookie big man Karl-Anthony Towns and the rest of the young Timberwolves' core appear to be working, so far.
But the plan does carry some risk because as ESPN's Jackie MacMullan muses, Garnett's passion and work ethic are hard, if not impossible, to replicate.
"With as much as we talk about 'mentors' in sports, it's arguable whether they even exist. The notion that veteran stars might willingly groom younger players to supplant them is naive at best, misguided at worst. Witness Carmelo Anthony welcoming a young Jeremy Lin into the Knicks' rotation, or Kobe Bryant's struggle to confront his own mortality while ostensibly shepherding D'Angelo Russell, or whatever it is that Michael Jordan did with (or to) Kwame Brown."
Former teammate Chauncey Billups refers to KG as the most unselfish superstar of his era, but Garnett has devoured his share of former teammates. That list that includes names like Ray Allen, Wally Szczerbiak, Rajon Rondo, Glen "Big Baby" Davis and even Rasho Nesterovic.
All were brought in to play alongside or learn from KG, but wound up crossing him.
As Garnett says in MacMullen's piece.
"I'm not stepping on someone who doesn't want to be stepped on. If you're not in it, and I mean in it today, they will replace you tomorrow."
But Garnett has taken to this group. He has worked with them since he returned to the team in February and after Minnesota drafted Towns, Garnett flew to Las Vegas to watch the young players in the Vegas Summer League.
Since the death of Flip Saunders, Garnett has said he is in full support of Sam Mitchell as the team's interim coach and he hopes to make a similar impact on this team's young talent.
"Sam taught me how to channel my energy and to be professional and how to always be in love with my craft. You have to love it if it's gonna work."
You'd can read more from MacMullan's absorbing article by clicking here.