Kevin Garnett, overrated?

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Kevin Garnett, overrated?

According to Charley Rosen, yes.’s NBA analyst is apparently as crazy as Stephon Marbury, including Kevin Garnett and Chris Paul among his list of most overrated players – just one day after including Kwame Brown and the Collins twins as part of his underrated list. Huh?

In case you have yet to read Rosen’s column, here is what he said about KG:
"His performance in the 2008 NBA Finals against the Lakers was a good indication of where he's really at.

In Boston's six-point loss in Game 3, Garnett shot 6-for-21.

In Boston's five-point loss in Game 5, Garnett scored only 13 points and missed several shots in the fourth quarter.

In Boston's championship-clinching, 39-point win in Game 6, Garnett registered his series high of 26 points.

In other words, it is well-known among the league's coaches that Garnett is a frontrunner who will inevitably choke when a critical game is up for grabs."
I wonder if he even watched that series. I bet he didn’t realize that KG spearheaded a Celtics defense that held the Lakers’ offense – which had been running circles around every other team in the playoffs – to only 93.8 points per game. I guarantee he didn’t understand that Kobe Bryant’s underwhelming performance in that series (only 25.7 points per game on only 40.4% shooting) was mostly due to the Celtics’ help defense, solidified and led by the one and only Kevin Garnett. And he certainly failed to mention that Garnett brought his effort, intensity and skill to the table every night for the Celtics – even in the finals, when Garnett struggled with his perimeter shooting, he had a double-double every game and was a monster defensively.

Garnett doesn’t need to put up scoring numbers to help the Celtics win, because he does so many other things on the court to improve his team. He was the Defensive Player of the Year and is rightfully given the lion’s share of the credit for the biggest single-season turnaround in NBA history.

KG may not score the most in crunch time, but he’s not the type of player to force shots. Even when he doesn’t score, his mere presence allows Paul Pierce and Ray Allen more room to operate for a shot. Remember when Big Baby canned that 17-footer at the buzzer to beat the Magic? Well, KG likely wouldn’t have been open on that play. The Magic just wouldn’t have left him. But you can be damn sure that Pierce, coming off the ball screen, would have been far more open due to the attention paid to Garnett. He may not look to score every possession, but Garnett makes plays - throughout the entire game - that help his team win.

To call Kevin Garnett overrated shouts of an ignorant plea for more people to read his column. Rosen knew that calling Kevin Garnett overrated would get people talking about his work, and as they say “No publicity is bad publicity.” Well, I disagree with you on that one, Charley. Your claims have taken away some of your credibility – if you had any to begin with.

In the spirit of defending KG, here is an excerpt from a 2007 article written by Celtics play-by-play announcer Sean Grande (who also announced KG in Minnesota):
"Kevin Garnett plays the game of basketball, the way it's supposed to be played.

You know what? I'll go one better.

Kevin Garnett plays the game of basketball, the way life is supposed to be lived.

With joy, and with passion, and with purpose. Present in every minute he's on the floor.

Playing to win, in an NBA age of playing it cool. Intensity, in an age of apathy. Boundless, almost limitless loyalty, in an age of me-first. An age where ‘it's all a business’ has become the same free pass to avoid allegiance that ‘I'm not a role model’ was to avoid responsibility."
Grande gets it right. No matter what you feel about Garnett’s antics on the court (which can be a little overbearing at times), you have to admire the way he plays the game of basketball. Selflessly, passionately, and dedicated.

Garnett brought his intensity and attitude to Boston, and immediately the Celtics were transformed from a cellar dweller to the best team in the NBA. Yeah, the C’s also brought in Ray Allen, but it was Garnett who changed the team’s whole outlook and is given credit for bringing the team together in solidarity. It was Garnett who demanded the same effort from his teammates he demands from himself. It was Garnett who epitomized the Celtics’ rallying cry “ubuntu,” who led the Celts in every sense of the word. It was Garnett who the Celtics missed desperately as their defense fell apart during his injury-induced stay on the bench.

Kevin Garnett, overrated?

Not in the least.


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