Ever since Boston Celtics Vice-President Danny Ainge said he would consider splitting up the big three should he get the right trade pieces, much speculation has taken place as to which of the three would be first to go.
Kevin Garnett, Paul Pierce and Ray Allen are all on the wrong side of 30, and seemingly have a bounty on their heads. Whilst they may not be playing for their lives just yet, they're not far from it, especially if the 5-8 Celtics continue down the path they're heading.
Underwhelming and under-performing, the Boston Celtics are in grave danger already of falling too far behind the playoff pack, and as a result, greater pressure is being heaped on the Big 3 to either step up or step aside.
Whilst it will depend on the trade available, should there be one, which ever one of the three disappoints the most will most likely be the one at the wrong end of the trade. And unfortunately for fans of the No.5, the numbers point towards Kevin Garnett.
Most likely to go: Kevin Garnett
|36.7 minutes||30.6 minutes|
|0.528 FG%||0.498 FG%|
|0.200 3PT%||0.282 3PT%||0.000 3PT%|
|0.862 FT%||0.788 FT%||0.833 FT%|
|8.9 rebounds/game||10.7 rebounds/game||7.5 rebounds/game|
|2.4 assists/game||4.1 assists/game||2.5 assists/game|
|1.3 steals/game||1.3 steals/game||0.4 steals/game|
|0.8 blocks/game||1.5 blocks/game||0.8 blocks/game|
|1.62 turnovers||2.37 turnovers/game||2.08 turnovers/game|
|14.9 points/game||19.5 points/game||13.5 points/game|
Down in all the significant areas, Garnett has been frustrating for the Celtics faithful to watch this year, as he is no longer having the impact in the key and around the rim that he once used to have.
Despite ranking top out of the Big 3 in the NBA's efficiency rating, Garnett still only comes it at 60th, with an efficiency rating of 16. He also ranks 31st in the league for rebounds per game, 79th in offensive rebounds per game and 37th in double-doubles.
And for your go-to-guy in the key, those numbers by Garnett are not acceptable. He is down significantly on field goal percentage and rebounding, and is not the same defensive presence as he once was with reduced steals, blocks and defensive rebounds per game.
Down to just 13.5 points per game, Garnett is not having the same impact at either end of the court and at aged 35, appears to be the most likely to go should the Big 3 get split up.
Next likely to go: Ray Allen
|36.1 minutes||37.0 minutes||34.9 minutes|
|0.491 FG%||0.453 FG%||0.500 FG%|
|0.444 3PT%||0.400 3PT%||0.559 3PT%|
|0.881 FT%||0.893 FT%||0.882 FT%|
|3.4 rebounds/game||4.3 rebounds/game||3.0 rebounds/game|
|2.7 assists/game||3.6 assists/game||2.3 assists/game|
|1.0 steals/game||1.2 steals/game||0.8 steals/game|
|0.2 blocks/game||0.2 blocks/game||0.0 blocks/game|
|1.46 turnovers/game||2.22 turnovers/game||1.92 turnovers/game|
|16.5 points/game||20.2 points/game||15.6 points/game|
Behind Garnett, sits Ray Allen, who is the oldest of the trio at 36, but also arguably the most efficient of the trio this year.
Allen is putting up higher numbers in field goals and three points than his career stats, and currently leads the league in three-point percentage.
Yet for me, the reason why Ray Allen should be the next considered for a trade, is his ability to impact the game behind Rajon Rondo.
Rondo is having another brilliant year, and is coordinating his Celtics well at times, but when he is not firing, the Celtics need points and they need stops on defense. With Garnett faltering, Boston cannot simply rely on trying to find Allen for an open three; they need to work the ball around and key to the key — something that Allen is not the go-to-guy for.
Least likely to be traded: Paul Pierce
For me, that mission would fall to Paul Pierce. Not only is Pierce the youngest of the trio, and the man with shelf life left, he's the man left in contract at the end of the year.
Both Allen and Garnett come off the books at the end of the year, whereas Pierce has $32 million and two years left to play for the Celtics, and despite being the youngest and thus the most appealing to trade, it would not be a wise move for the Celtics.
|34.7 minutes||37.0 minutes||31.5 minutes|
|0.497 FG%||0.448 FG%||0.387 FG%|
|0.374 3PT%||0.037 3PT%||0.439 3PT%|
|0.860 FT%||0.805 FT%||0.830 FT%|
|5.4 rebounds/game||6.1 rebounds/game||4.9 rebounds/game|
|3.3 assists/game||3.8 assists/game||3.9 assists/game|
|0.6 blocks/game||0.6 blocks/game||0.7 steals/game|
|1.0 steals/game||1.5 steals/game||0.3 blocks/game|
|2.14 turnovers/game||2,93 turnovers/game||2.5 turnovers/game|
|18.9 points/game||22.1 points/game||14.9 points/game|
Pierce has the ability both offensively and defensively to become the go-to-guy next to Rondo this year, and despite being down on field goals for the season, Paul is up on assists and three-points — above both last year and his career stats.
Pierce is coming to end of his career — as are Garnett and Allen — but if Boston still want to make the playoffs and be a serious threat towards the end of the year, then trading Pierce is not the smart move.
If they're going to trade anybody, it needs to be Garnett.
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