|Kevin Garnett, above, can prove a lot to his critics if the C’s win an NBA title.(AP Photo/David Zalubowski )
Today on “1st and 10” on ESPN, Skip Bayless and Donnie Wahlberg were discussing the Celtics’ chances of winning an NBA title. Wahlberg had high hopes for his favorite team, but Bayless shot him down, bursting his “green bubble.” Bayless said that C’s star forward Kevin Garnett is the 2nd-most overrated player in the NBA (behind LeBron James), saying that Garnett is soft because he is a big man that plays like a 2-guard. His banter was reminiscent of a past episode of “1st and 10” when Bayless called KG “Garnot,” and told Stephen A. Smith that Kevin Garnett was not even among the top 15 players in the league. Initially, Garnett being overrated sounds ludicrous. But…can it really be true?
Further down are three reasons why KG is not overrated and three reasons why KG is overrated, including the final verdict at the end of the post.
Why Kevin Garnett IS overrated:
- Kevin Garnett has never won an NBA championship, and he really hasn’t been close either. He’s made it out of the first round of the playoffs only once (in 2003-2004 when the Timberwolves made the Western Conference Finals) and made a first-round exit for seven straight seasons from 1997-2003.
- During the 1997-1998 season, KG signed an astonishing 6-year contract extension worth $126 million. Anybody paid that much money for that many years should help deliver something in the way of deep playoff pushes. As previously mentioned, KG only escaped the first round once in his career. Automatically, KG could be seen as overrated because he was paid so much and his team produced so little. Many believed that after signing a deal of that magnitude that the Timberwolves wouldn’t have enough money left to surround Garnett with valuable role players. Other than their great 2003-2004 season (when the T-Wolves had Sam Cassell and Latrell Sprewell), the T-Wolves seemed to always surround Garnett with mediocre players (Marko Jaric, Michael Olowakandi, Mark Madsen).
- One point that Skip Bayless always likes to bring up is that for a man of Garnett’s size, KG plays awfully weak. He is a good passer and a serviceable perimeter shooter, but many critics point out that KG has trouble slashing toward the hoop for the layup. Garnett does sometimes play with the 2-guard mentality, and is not known for his ability to move toward the basket with his back to the post.
Why Kevin Garnett IS NOT overrated:
- Garnett is a 10-time all-star, 8-time all-NBA team member, and 4-time defending rebound champion. In fact, KG is the first player to ever average 20 points, 10 rebounds, and 5 assists in six-straight seasons (1999-2005). He’s also the first player to ever average 20 points, 10 rebounds, and 4 assists in nine consecutive seasons (1998-2007). He’s the only player in history to reach at least 18,000 points, 10,000 rebounds, 4,000 assists, 1,200 steals, and 1,500 blocks in his career. By the way, he’s just 31.
- He was one of the first high school players ever drafted straight to the NBA. Taken with the 5th overall pick in the 1995 draft, Garnett paved the way for Kobe Bryant, Tracy McGrady, Dwight Howard, and Al Jefferson ahead of him. Can you imagine being the youngest player in the NBA, lining up next to Karl Malone, Michael Jordan, Shaquille O’Neal or any other dominant player? Garnett proved that players who declare out of high school can not only play in the NBA without playing in college before, but can play at an extremely high level.
- One could use a counter-argument: Sure, Kevin Garnett has yet to win an NBA title. But neither did Karl Malone, John Stockton, or Reggie Miller. Active players without a championship ring include Dirk Nowitzki, Steve Nash, Gilbert Arenas, Paul Pierce, Ray Allen, etc (this list could go on forever). The point is that even the best players of certain eras never get a chance to feel what it’s like to be a champion in the NBA. A player like KG doesn’t have much control over moves made by the GM, so it’s kind of unfair that players are labeled as losers even though the real blame is in the management of the team.
Kevin Garnett IS NOT overrated. In fact, I think its absurd and totally unfair that Skip Bayless and others are constantly asserting that KG isn’t even one of the top players in the league. His arrival to the Celtics makes them instant contenders in the East, no question about it. Perhaps he’ll use all the negative energy from his critics as motivation to bring Banner #17 back to Boston.
What do you guys think?
Tags: Celtics, Kevin Garnett, LeBron James, Skip Bayless