Tuesday, January 13, 2015

Kevin Garnett -- Time to Retire

One of my favorite players of all time.  Also, in my opinion, one of the most underrated players of all time.  Garnett was ejected last night for head butting Dwight Howard.  While I am sure no one will be crying for Dwight Howard, it is just another example of how KG's skills have so eroded that he views his primary job as just being super dirty and creating havoc.

Kevin Garnett, if he can grind out around 400 more minutes, will be the 5th player in NBA history to log 50,000 or more minutes.  (Kareem, Karl Malone, Jason Kidd, Elvin Hayes).

By finally putting up some positive Win Shares this year, KG has managed to eke ahead of Oscar Robertson and Artis Gilmore on the all-time NBA/ABA Win Shares list, he now ranks 7th all-time.  He will never catch the 6 guys ahead of him:  Kareem, Wilt, Malone, Jordan, Stockton, Duncan.   While he is only 6 WS behind Duncan, Timmy is still good -- KG, sadly, is not.

You can play more minutes and actually put up negative Win Shares, so it is possible that if KG plays more he will actually go backwards and drop below Oscar and Artis.  That would truly be a shame - work for 49,500 minutes to get to 7th place and then fall back to 8th or 9th.

To make matters worse, Dirk is catching KG in Win Shares.  And Kobe and LeBron have shots at eventually passing him as well.  If Garnett retires in 7th place, he could still lay claim to a top 10 all-time mark (passed by those three guys) for a decent number of years.  If he falls to 9th, then Dirk passes him, probably at least LeBron gets him too, and he falls to 11th.

Why stay?  He certainly shouldn't need the money.  He is top 3 all-time in salary received (he may still be #1, but I think Kobe may catch him).   His legacy declines with every game he plays.  The only thing I can identify that may be keeping him going is that he trails only Karl Malone and Artis Gilmore for career Defensive Rebounds.  He needs 163 to pass Malone and 272 to pass Gilmore.  Neither feat is likely to get accomplished this season.  (As support for this idea that this is why he is staying around, look at KG's rebound rate for the past two years -- it is way, way up).  And....look behind you KG, Duncan is only around 600 defensive rebounds behind.  At 7 a game, that is a little over one season.  Is it likely that Duncan plays 2 seasons more than KG?  I would say so.

When you are one of the top 25 players of all time, is it really worth it to hang around and play like shit for 1 1/2 more years just so you can hold a record for 2 years that not even I knew before today was held by Artis Gilmore (NBA/ABA stats included) or Karl Malone (NBA only)?  I say no.

Please, KG, retire.

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