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Kevin Garnett: Overrated?

Kevin Garnett (AP Photo/David Zalubowski)
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:

  1. 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.
  2. 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).
  3. 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:

  1. 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.
  2. 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.
  3. 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.

Final Verdict:

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?

About KC Downey - @kc_downey

KC is the "head coach" of the Sports of Boston, LLC blog network. Follow him on Twitter: @kc_downey

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16 comments for “Kevin Garnett: Overrated?”

  1. […] A primer for Celtics fans    Got Garnett    63 days    Sports of Boston    Kevin Garnett overrated?     Green 17    Gary Payton another steal?      Gary Payton motivational […]

    Posted by Celtics 24/7 » Blog Archive » Today’s Links 8/30 | August 30, 2007, 10:10 am
  2. Skip Bayless hasn’t the slightest clue as to what he is talking about. KG overrated? Do you even think Skip watches basketball? How many great players have their been in the league without titles? Too many! A player can be great in many ways and not be able to lead their team to a championship. Is this completely their fault? Maybe, but probably not.

    KG is one of the rarest players to come along in the history of the game. He was the first 6’11 – 7 footer to be able to do the things he does. It is common place in today’s NBA, but to say he is overrated is absurd. Maybe he is not the KG of 5 years ago, but he is damn sure a fine player.

    Skip Bayless argued with Steven A. Smith the other day (two of the most unwatchable human beings on this earth) and i found myself agreeing with Steven A. Smith. Skip didn’t even put KG in the Top 10!!! Skip should not be on TV. He will eat his words.

    Posted by Phil | August 30, 2007, 1:53 pm
  3. Uh, I hate to burst your bubble, but Kevin Garnet was NOT the first player ever drafted straight from high school to the NBA. Although it had not happened for a few years, both Darryl Dawkins (ol’ Chocolate Thunder himself) and Bill Willoughby were drafted by the NBA straight from high school.

    Moses Malone was drafted out of high school but into the ABA prior to the merger.

    Posted by dakine01 | August 30, 2007, 4:27 pm
  4. OK, now that you say that it sounds right. I had double-checked, so there’s another site wrong as well. Garnett was just one of the first. Thanks for the correction…

    Posted by KC | August 30, 2007, 4:46 pm
  5. I realize that he wasn’t the first drafted out of high school. I don’t think i mentioned that at all. What i was saying was that he is one of the first 7 foot players in the league who possesses skills like a shooting guard.

    Did you even read my post? Rarest, not first.

    Posted by Phil | August 31, 2007, 2:49 pm
  6. Yeah I think dakine01 meant that Garnett wasn’t the first high schooler drafted to the NBA, just the first in 20 years. I agree he’s definitely a rare breed for a man that big to possess some skills of a shooting guard. Phil, you made a valid point…Skip has no clue what hes talking about.

    Posted by KC | August 31, 2007, 9:59 pm
  7. Hi,

    The picture is NOT courtesy of, it’s from AP Photo/David Zalubowski as mentionned here :

    I’m just using it on my blog …

    Posted by bsod | September 18, 2007, 12:06 pm
  8. sorry, thanks. it’s corrected now.

    Posted by KC | September 18, 2007, 4:05 pm
  9. […] you may remember my article from Aug. 30 (Kevin Garnett: Overrated?) when I challenged Skip Bayless’s claim that Kevin Garnett was one of the most overrated […]

    Posted by Player Preview: Kevin Garnett | Sports of Boston | September 25, 2007, 8:37 pm
  10. Yep he’s right KG is overrated. He doesn’t do enough for his teammates. The one thing he can do that nobody else on his team ever could was play in the post and he has refused to do so consistently throughout his career.

    He’s a very good player but he’s not top 10. He’s probably not top 15 either.

    Skip is on point. KG has time to turn this around and re-establish himself he still has years left.

    Posted by Who | September 26, 2007, 11:42 am
  11. yeah right

    Posted by bobby | September 26, 2007, 5:24 pm
  12. This is absolutely right. KG hasn’t convinced me that he is in fact a franchise player due to the fact that he has never shown or done anything to put himself on the same level of many greatest forwards who ever played this game.

    I remember when he had Cassell and Sprewell to compelement him with and they made it all the way to the Western Conference. I noticed that KG never stepped his game up and relied most on the outside shots and passing to teammates instead of taking it to the paint and posting up against defenders. Unlike Kobe Bryant and Lebron James, they knew the importance of being aggressive and taking more shots more than their teammates since they knew that it the primary way to win big games —stepping up to the next level and not being afraid to take shots.

    KG didn’t show me that drive and never has, sure he was a great all-around player, but he was more like Scottie Pippen, a good complement player but not a big factor to carry the whole team on his shoulder.

    To me a good rebounder must always be consistent with the numbers regardless of what team he plays on. I do think he is an exceptional rebounder but I realized that he is not on the same level of Olujawons, Barkleys, and Duncans since with the Boston his stats had dramatically gone done. This proves that when was playing for Wolves he was the only player who can rebound well while on Boston he was in the competition among his teammates. I don’t care if he had good players around him who can grab boards, there is still no excuse that his scoring and rebounding stats are down since he is still at his prime. (If you notice Rodman, Malone, Barkley, Olajuwon, Ewing, at their primes they brought big numbers on the boards despite of having good rebounder teammates around them)

    If you ever notice that his assists stats over the years were remarkably high, but his scoring numbers were never really that impressive for his height and athleticsm(with his height, lenght, quickness, athletcism he could easily increase is average points per game higher yearly). If he had just learned to become more agressive offensively and stop trying to be like Scottie Pippen, then maybe his team would have won more wins because of his domination on the scoring end.

    Just watch the Celtics-Hawks game, see how much time he’s on the court and cannot consistently produce high numbers. He should be scoring 30 point a nite and about 10 rebounds per game, since this is the playoffs where it all counts. If you watch Tim Duncan play on all his playoff games, you would see why he is far better than Kevin Garnett.

    Posted by Ed | May 3, 2008, 12:13 am
  13. Beating your chest and cursing when you walk down the floor after making a layup over a much smaller defender doesn’t make you a leader. KG is heralded as a great player when he consitently disappears during crunch time. Kevin plays hard every game. He is a great defender, but not a great offensive player. With all of KG’s skills along with his height, he doesn’t dominate on the offensive end the way that he should. Nevertheless in my opinion, KG is overrated; a good player that is too inconsistent to be considered great.

    Posted by Basketball Fan | May 18, 2008, 6:03 pm

    Posted by cory | June 18, 2008, 5:54 pm
  15. […] confuse this piece with my man KC’s literary work of art about Kevin Garnett. However, the vibe is similar. Adrian Peterson burst onto the NFL scene and sent shockwaves through […]

    Posted by TGIF: Is Adrian Peterson Overrated? | Sports of Boston | August 1, 2008, 2:33 pm
  16. KG is not overrated.He is one of the greatest all around player that ever play the game of basketball.KG was one of the contributing factor to the celtics championship in the 70-08 season.secondly,because of his injuiry,the celtics could not win the title back to back.If all go well,you will see the celtics with their second title with Garnett.

    Posted by moses vah | December 10, 2009, 3:37 pm

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