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KG in ESPN Mag: Look Back at Anger

The analytics issue of ESPN The Magazine showed up in my neighbor’s mailbox yesterday. It’s great! A’s pitcher Brandon McCarthy is on the cover just for being cool and smart, and there are charts and graphs all over the place inside. At times the content gets genuinely mathy. Good work, ESPN The.

Better still, most of the basketball content is either dedicated or connected to Kevin Garnett, highlighting arguments for his status as the greatest player of his generation (*sad Insider-only trombone*).

Most of the statistical facts will not be new to readers here, but it’s really fun (almost overwhelming) having them all in one place.

-In 2002-2003, KG scored 23 points per game, but he actually may have been worth 25.3 more per 48 minutes because of his defense, rebounding, and passing. He was almost double any other player in the league in that category and put up one of the greatest seasons in basketball history, but still lost the MVP to Tim Duncan.

-Based on Wins Produced, KG was the NBA’s best player every year from 2002-2003 to 2005-2006.

-KG is the only active player on the all-time Win Shares top-ten leaderboard at eighth. Not Duncan. Not Kobe. He’s also younger than any other player in the top-ten was when they retired.

-In his time in Boston, KG has finished seasons at 1st, 2nd, 8th, and 2nd in Defensive Rating. He’s currently 8th, just behind Joakim Noah.

What a great article! My favorite KG content, though, comes from a different piece in the same Mag about Sam Presti and the Thunder. It delivers in some quotes from and about Kendrick Perkins, who calls playing with KG “the best thing that ever happened to me.”

Scott Brooks says that Perkins borrowed Garnett’s “defensive anger,” and Perkins says KG taught him to “lose yourself in the team and not be an individual.” Perkins also apparently learned from Garnett a tendency to coin mantras: Perkins’s is “You can’t get bored with the process.” Two completely essential tenets of basketball success, and also maybe the two hardest to actually live by. But KG does it, and (much, much harder) he can teach other players to do it, too.

I’ve never fully embraced the value of “locker room guys” who don’t produce on the court. But if the Celtics do start from scratch over the next two years, quotes like that make me wonder if Garnett might be their most valuable rebuilding piece.¬†Here’s another good line from his article: “Even in the autumn of his career, Kevin Garnett is the future of the NBA.”

  • T.J.

    Favorite Player of all Time!!!!! Love this dude so much!!!!! He needs another ring!!!!!

  • IBleedGreen

    I would say I have probably watched close to 80% of all the games KG played in, dating back to Minnesota. I don't live in Boston so I got NBA leauge pass just so that I can watch KG every game. KG you're the man and always will be my favorite player!!!

  • CelticsBIG3

    All these people that want to call him a fake tough guy blah blah blah whatever. He has been a gamechanger since day one. One of the loudest, most explosive players ever and for my dollar the only reason we got a title in 08'. Had our group consisted of the same players minus KG, no title. Had KG not had a wheel go out on him in the 09' season? Title. Had our best big man besides KG not been Sheed when Perk went down in game 6 in 10'? Title.

    • Anthony

      CelticsBig3… Agreed with all the "should've been" titles. I like the add that if Shaq could've gave 20mins a game, last year could've been a title run also.

      I was never a big KG fan until he became a Celtics but now I understand what he truly brings to the game. Will always remember KG's first game as a Celtics – 22pts and 20reb against the Wizards. And the bankshot against Lakers in Game 6 finals. That shot demoralized the Lakers early en route to 39pt blowout. Definitely ranks as the best moment as a Celtics fan.

  • Racquel

    I absolutely love KG and his paasion….I am coming all the way to the "Gahden" just for him, and of course Doc, Paul, Ray, and Rajon….Oakeley's comments are utterly ridiculous and laughable….Kevin is the total package and a complete gamechanger…..hoping Jajuan takes it all in…..can't wait to April 24th when I come to see my C's play!!!!!

  • skeeds

    That he called a players meeting, to make it clear that winning is the only option, him, in his 17th season, playing for a mediocre team with no real title hopes, while he could simply cruise through his last seasons laid back, overpaid and relaxed, proves what a guy he is.

    That's why I'm so glad he's damn near untradeable. And that he might retire next season. I'd rather watch KG until he decides to give up, than any other player.
    I hope, for the sake of this team, that he is offered an assistant job as soon as he takes his sneakers off. His deep understanding of the game, and his proven genius on running the defense is just part of it.

    KG has to remain a member of this culture he singlehandedly redefined. He didn't buy into any philosophy, he IS the philosophy of the modern era's Celtics, or rather, the NBA. He is the standard by which leadership, loyalty, commitment and passion are measured. As long as he stays in this locker room, no one is good enough.

    • CelticsBIG3

      Has mentioned before he is not interested in coaching.

  • KYCelts

    Always been my favorite player, i honestly liked the t'wolves better than the celts when the y had KG because I loved his passion and the way he persevered. People forget he led the way for kobe n lebron and other hs to nba players.. he was the first in years to make that jump, because he was worried he wouldnt be academically eligible for college, proves that college requirements cant truly measure all qualities. If i was picking my all-time team that would actually play, not just stats, KG would be my starting 4 and captain. A true floor general. I hope he pulls a Sam Cassell and the C's maintain him as a coach as his playing days end.

  • Josh

    KG was absolutely screwed outta the 03 MVP. That shoulda been his. BTW folks, KG is only 33 assists away from becoming just the 3rd PLAYER EVER to total 20,000+ points, 10,000+ rebounds and 5,000+ assists for a career.

  • C's fan in LA

    can someone with an ESPN insider account copy paste the article here so we can all read the complete article please?!!!!!