Let's proselytize on just accepting Kevin Garnett for who he really is

Thursday, May 08, 2008

Obviously I'm geeked up for tonight's game with the Celtics and the Cavs, and as I'm eagerly awaiting the game to start, I thought I'd post out a few opinions on Kevin Garnett, and why win or lose - and contrary to the ESPN article by Scoop Jackson - there's no love lost even with the Celtics 1st round tests against Atlanta.

First let's break down the awards and stats (it's long):

  • NBA Most Valuable Player: 2004
  • NBA Defensive Player of the Year: 2008
  • NBA All-Star Game MVP: 2003
  • 11-time NBA All-Star: 1997, 1998, 2000, 2001, 2002, 2003, 2004, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2008
  • 8-time All-NBA:
    First Team: 2000, 2003, 2004, 2008
    Second Team: 2001, 2002, 2005
    Third Team: 1999, 2007
    8-time All-Defensive:
    First Team: 2000, 2001, 2002, 2003, 2004, 2005
    Second Team: 2006, 2007
    NBA All-Rookie Second Team: 1996
  • 4-time NBA regular-season leader, rebounds per game: 2004 (13.9), 2005 (13.5), 2006 (12.7), 2007 (12.8)
  • 2-time NBA regular-season leader, rebounds: 2004 (1,139), 2005 (1,108)
  • 5-time NBA regular-season leader, defensive rebounds: 2003 (858), 2004 (894), 2005 (861), 2006 (752), 2007 (792)
  • NBA regular-season leader, points: 2004 (1,987)
  • NBA regular-season leader, field goals made: 2004 (804)
  • J. Walter Kennedy Citizenship Award: 2006
  • Career triple-doubles (regular season): 17 (as of March 4, 2007)[40]
  • Career triple-doubles (post-season): 3 (as of 2006)
  • Only player in NBA history to:
    average at least 20 points, 10 rebounds, and 5 assists per game for 6 consecutive seasons. (1999-2005) , average at least 20 points, 10 rebounds, and 4 assists per game for 9 consecutive seasons. (1998-2007), reach at least 20,000 points, 11,000 rebounds, 4,000 assists, 1,200 steals, and 1,500 blocks in his playing career.
  • Ranked #70 on SLAM Magazine's Top 75 NBA Players of All Time in 2003.
If one series that took longer than you thought, tarnishes what Kevin Garnett has done in his career or him winning a championship - you just aren't a KG fan. It doesn't really matter how KG wins a ring - now or later - you just want him to win it all.

Crunch Time

I've watched a lot of games (thank you NBA League Pass) from KG's career and the bottom line is that he doesn't back away when it counts, when the game's on the line. Win or lose KG has always tried to exert his will at the end of games in any way that he can.

But let's get real - the national media - the pundits who've watched maybe 50 games from Garnetts career never actually see it. Even one ESPN writer admitted that you really have to see KG for long stretches of time to see how he dominates the whole court - the whole game - intimating that the writer hasn't done that in the past, but rather has just caught glimpses of Garnett to form his opinion.

But what about scoring?

Kenny Smith said it best when he said Kevin Garnett is the first player in the modern age of basketball who can't really score 40 points at will, but who can still take over a game. It's not just scoring in the 4th, but how many assists, how many rebounds, how many times he takes care of the ball or is involved in plays where he sets up the offense first - where the offense runs through him because of his decision making - all of those - and some of which just can't be put into stats (or haven't), are all the reasons why you just can't look at Garnett in terms of scoring during crunch time.

But did you also see Game 1 of this second round? Yeah, I think it was KG that carried the team on his back in the 4th in terms of scoring as well.

So you want him to be even more than who he is?

We do it all the time. We always want people to be more than who they actually are. From politicians to partners to even good old grandma Nguyen down the street - we have a hard time accepting people for who they are - and that goes double for Garnett.

We see his athleticism, his height, his drive - what he's already been able to do - and we just want more. We want him to be everything we think he should be.

Let's pause though and just take a breath.

Let's accept Garnett for the future HOF player that he is and hope for the best.

He's not Kobe. He's Not Lebron. He's not CP3. He's KG.

He's the Defensive Player Of The Year, he scores 19-20 pts a game, he's the top scorer so far on the Celtics in the post-season, he's been a rebounding machine for his entire career - and don't forget about his assists. For most of his career the offense hasn't only just gone through him - but he alone has been the offense.

And he plays the game the right way.

I mean really - what more do you want from the guy?