One of the biggest criticisms of Kevin Garnett has been that he likes to hang around outside too much and he doesn't really do a ton of work in the post. His skills have allowed him to do that throughout his career… and we've seen this season that he's had nights where he was so hot that he could head-butt the ball into basket.
But has he become TOO reliant on the jumper? The evidence in the Golden State game may point to "yes". Jared Wade explains:
After resting on the bench for quite some time, KG entered the game in
the fourth quarter with about 6 minutes to go and his team down by 5.
About three possessions later, he found himself with the ball being
guarded by Monta Ellis. To be completely fair, he didn’t have a ton of
time left on shotclock, but that does not forgive the terrible,
awkward, off-balance fadeaway he opted to take over a 6?3? guy who
weighs less than the sandwich Big Baby ate during half-time. Then, on
the next trip down the floor, Garnett again found himself with the ball
in the midrange and, again, had himself a nice mismatch, this time over
Corey Maggette. What did KG do? He took and badly missed another
off-balance fadeaway. Rajon Rondo was able to score the next 6 points
for Boston and keep them within a few missed Ray Allen threes from
coming back to steal the win on the road, but it’s inexcusable for the
Big Ticket to ruin two key fourth quarter possessions — especially when
Paul Pierce isn’t playing, Rondo is reluctantly not completely taking
over and Ray Allen is shooting like Marquis Daniels. That’s just not a
winning formula for the Celtics. In fact, I actually have the formula
that proves it.
You can follow the link for Jared's scientific explanation.
There's no denying that KG loves to shoot the jumper. According to 82Games.com, 69% of his shots are jumpers. And while you might think that's entirely too much, it's actually down from the previous year… where 72% of his shots were jumpers…. and his first year with the Celtics where 73% of his shots were jumpers.
So KG isn't taking as many jumpers as he used to… and you can maybe attribute that to him playing with a much better Rajon Rondo (and entire Celtics team, for that matter) setting him up closer to the basket. His "close" shots are way up. But I agree with Jared… when you've got Monta Ellis or Corey Maggette on you… you've got to do better than a fadeaway jumper.
So that begs the question… is he not at 100% (or whatever passes for 100% in KG-land nowadays)? He's always in for treatment, so it's hard to say "uh oh, KG is in the trainer's room… what's wrong?" We've heard reports that he's been kicked in the leg… and he is dealing with that thigh bruise. So maybe the lack of aggression was just him taking it easy and waiting to REALLY push it on another day.
I know KG likes to shoot jumpers… but when you're going up against Ellis and Maggette and you shoot fadeaways… that just begs people like us to ask questions.