Tuesday, February 19, 2013

PLOTSKY'S POSITION: What's Best for Kevin Garnett and the Boston Celtics


Dan P

Dan explains why Kevin Garnett should go to L.A. to play for the Clippers.  

Trades can happen for many reasons and happen when we least expect it.  Some NBA teams will be trying to: shed money (Chicago Bulls), rebuild (Boston Celtics), save embarrassment (L.A. Lakers/Brooklyn Nets), make one last run (San Antonio Spurs), make any run toward and in the playoffs (Milwaukee Bucks/L.A. Clippers), and play the role of “bored banker” (Dallas Mavericks/Bank of [Mark] Cuban).  

Last week, I covered the Bulls’ offer to the Toronto Raptors for Andrea Bargnani, but for the sake of my sanity, we’ll focus on two players who could be moved before the deadline that, perhaps on the right team, will dictate this year’s playoffs.  The first area NBA teams look to improve is in size and defense and there may be no better example of that available than Kevin Garnett.  Weeks ago, the Celtics lost All-Star point guard Rajon Rondo to a horrific ACL injury that dealt a massive blow to their title chances in 2013.  If not for a recent resurgence in record following that injury, a deal for Garnett would be more likely but for the right package.  GM Danny Ainge will still have to consider the future.  Let's say Kevin Garnett for DeAndre Jordan/Eric Bledsoe of the Clippers.  For the Celtics, they would obtain two young athletic, future assets to help replenish their decaying core and the Clippers believe they will get the piece to push them over the top this year.  

Despite Garnett's age and contract (3 years remaining) we can see below from this season what both players have meant to their teams defensively and the clear difference Garnett has been for the Celtics.  I have highlighted net points in yellow for both players and it's nothing short of astonishing. 
   
On Court / Off Court stats (Kevin Garnett)
Many stats are shown on a 'per 48 minute' basis
Stat
ON Court
OFF Court
Net
Minutes
1468
938
61%
Defense: Pts per 100 Poss.
100.2
109.7
-9.6
Net Points per 100 Possessions
+2.3
-4.4
+6.6
Points Scored
2812
1891
+921
Points Allowed
2741
1963
+778
Net Points
+71
-72
+143

On Court / Off Court stats (DeAndre Jordan)
Many stats are shown on a 'per 48 minute' basis
Stat
ON Court
OFF Court
Net
Minutes
1286
1213
51%
Defense: Pts per 100 Poss.
107.3
99.2
+8.1
Net Points per 100 Possessions
+5.8
+7.4
-1.6
Points Scored
2726
2459
+267
Points Allowed
2599
2273
+326
Net Points
+127
+186
-59

The Celtics are a 143-point-deficit team when Garnett is on the bench in exactly 52 games played this year.  143 points/52 games=2.75 points per game differential when Garnett sits.  This may not seem like too much, but considering the Celtics currently through the all-star break are 0.0 differential and only 4 games over .500, this is actually profound.  This of course is all happening while 36 year-old Garnett is averaging 30 minutes per game, the effects on point differential would only be worse if those minutes were to decline.  

The Clippers flushed with talent and a deep team could afford to lose Bledsoe, whom has been a god-send for the second unit this season.  This trade could be the evidence that Chris Paul and Blake Griffin need to see that the Clippers are serious title contenders this year.  The other sneaky part to this trade is what the Clippers will save in payroll if Garnett decides to retire after this season ($11.5 million).  But with a move to a contender and Garnett's love of Los Angeles, where he lives in the off-season, he may be too competitive to let it go so quickly.               

So clearly, there's still something left in Garnett's tank and though he might be useful to the Celtics, his services would be of better use with the Clippers.

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