There might not be a human being alive who watches more NBA basketball than Kelly Dwyer, so it means something when he says a certain player is the best at something. And today, he anointed KG the best defensive player of the last ten years.
KG stands alone because he pitches nearly as many perfect games, while combining Tim Duncan’s length and frame with a guard’s ability to move his feet. Garnett has become a bit more showy about things after getting traded to the Boston Celtics, but his time spent toiling for those awful Minnesota teams prior to that, and his years spent dominating on some solid-to-great Timberwolves teams prior to that were the work of a defensive genius. He just guarded everyone, every play, every feint, every drive, everything. And then he’d get the rebound. Pity that nobody seemed to be paying attention.
Like all of Kelly’s top 10 lists this week, the whole thing is a must read. And he’s right about KG.
It might be time to ask the question: Is Kevin Garnett the greatest defensive player in NBA history? Is that blasphemous to ask, given that this is a Celtics-themed Web site, and a certain Celtics center with more rings than hand digits is widely considered the greatest ever?
I’d contend it’s a fair question, given KG’s incredible versatility. And Dwyer is right to throw in the “and then he’d get the rebound” bit at the end of his post. Because, in addition to all the feet-moving and feint-giving, all the jostling in the post and showing on screen-rolls, KG has been the best defensive rebounder of the last decade. He led the league in DRB percentage for four consecutive seasons (2003-04 through 2006-07), and he is still a top five DRB man even as his minutes climb toward the 40,000 mark.
Is he the best defender ever? I think it’s a fair question.