Every morning, we compile the links of the day and dump them here… highlighting the big storyline. Because there's nothing quite as satisfying as a good morning dump.
It's rare that players can turn back the clock in their mid-30s and bounce back after battling injury, but that's just what Garnett did last season. When Garnett's athleticism waned late in the 2009-10 campaign, it seemed we might have seen the last of him playing at an elite level, but he looked healthier and more explosive from the start of 2010-11.
Defensively, Garnett remains as valuable as any player besides Dwight Howard. According to Synergy Sports' tracking, Garnett was the league's most effective defender against the pick-and-roll. No defender in the league is capable of helping his team in more ways than Garnett, who blocks shots, racks up steals and is strong on the defensive glass. On offense, Garnett has become mostly a pick-and-pop player, which means he rarely draws fouls or comes up with offensive boards, but his efficiency remains strong on the strength of making 53 percent of his 2-point attempts.
Last season, 14 players rated as more effective than Garnett on a per-minute basis. As with Duncan, limited minutes cut slightly into his value, as does a history of injuries. (He missed 11 games last season.) As a result, Garnett ranked 28th in the league in WARP. Garnett's projections are more pessimistic than Duncan's. Players similar to him tended to drop off at age 36, which Garnett will reach in 2012-13. However, few of them were as effective defensively as Garnett. The exception is Hakeem Olajuwon, who had a strong season at 38 before fading. On a short-term deal, Garnett should be a worthwhile risk.
Because Boston might be set to rebuild if 2011-12 ends poorly, Garnett could be on the move. His game would work well most anywhere. What's more difficult is finding a scenario that might make sense for him. If Garnett's primary goal is adding a championship ring, he could sacrifice pay and team up with the Miami Heat's Big Three, but that prospect seems almost unthinkable. A more intriguing possibility is for Garnett to reunite with former Celtics assistant Tom Thibodeau in Chicago if Carlos Boozer wears out his welcome and could be moved in a trade.
I'd love to see KG stick around with the Celtics for a few more years. Why wouldn't Garnett sign a short term, $5 million-per-season deal if the team remains a viable championship contender? He's repeatedly professed his love for Doc Rivers and the organization.
He'd be a fantastic role player and defensive mentor for some younger players. The big question is… does he have the make-up to be a bench player? We're talking about a guy so intense, he doesn't like to sit on the bench when he's injured.
As for KG playing in Chicago, it's a move that makes sense. But who the hell is going to take on Carlos Boozer's contract?
I'll go out on a limb and say Garnett retires a Celtic.
The rest of the links:
ESPN Boston – Rivers assistants are equal | CSNNE – Friday FTs: Shaq stops by the White House | Herald – Michael Beasley shoves fan at NYC playground game | Globe – For ABCD, basketball at Garden a dream matchup |