It’s been a quite a couple of weeks for Kevin Garnett in terms of online accolades he probably doesn’t know about and the “print” press, whatever that is, ignores.
Kelly Dwyer has honored him twice, first as the best defensive player of the decade, and then as the best overall power forward of the decade. (KD ruffled some feathers by placing Tim Duncan, the player to whom KG is most often compared, in the center category).
Today comes Wayne Winston, the Mavericks statistics advisor and author the new book Mathletics, calling Garnett the best player overall of the last decade on TrueHoop. Here’s the money quote:
Tracy McGrady is a player who has never helped his team as much as people thought. Allen Iverson — for one or two years he was really good.
The best player of the decade, though, I’d say, was Kevin Garnett. We have a rating over the last eight or nine years, and Garnett comes out number one. And I think everybody else [other stat experts] has that too, so that’s nice.
Although I don’t like Garnett. When I watch on TV, he’s turning too edgy. Chippy attitude.
I haven’t read Mathletics yet, but Henry explained Winston’s general methodology yesterday. Winston looks at on/off court differentials using an adjusted plus/minus formula that measures how well teams do with particular players on the floor and on the bench. His goal is to help the Mavs find specific line-up combinations that work well overall and against specific opponents. Winston was (partly) behind the team’s decision to start Devin Harris in the epic Western Conference playoff series against the Spurs in 2006; his data told him Harris was a very effective match-up against Tony Parker.
Without knowing—or understanding—Winston’s full methods, it’s hard to evaluate them. He says some pretty good players contribute very little toward winning, including Amare Stoudemire, Allen Iverson and Tracy McGrady. They record nice stats, he says, but their plus/minus effectiveness is minimal.
Not KG, though. And it makes some sense—he’s a very good offensive player, an outstanding rebounder, an unselfish and smart passer and the best defensive player of the last 10 years or so. He does nothing to hurt your team.
But the best of the last decade? Hmmm….