In a season where the Boston Celtics have been as inconsistent as the weather, Kevin Garnett has been steady. While his 14.7 points and seven rebounds per game won't blow anyone away, his importance to his team is unquestioned.
You would have a very difficult time finding a player who is as vital to his team as Garnett is to the Celtics.
The plus/minus numbers say it all. Just like the 2012 postseason where K.G.'s plus/minus statistics were mind-bogglingly amazing, the 36-year-old once again leads Boston in that category this season. The C's are a plus-71 when Garnett is on the floor. That is by far the best mark on the team. Take K.G. off the Celtics this year, and where are they right now?
We all shudder at the mere thought.
Fans mainly base their All-Star selections off of traditional statistics, and there is nothing wrong with that. That is what they are essentially trained to do. They usually only see points, rebounds, assists, blocks and steals and use that as an anchor with which to vote.
What they don't realize is that they are not looking deep enough. They aren't really looking at the player as a whole.
Yes, Garnett may only be averaging 14.7 points per game, but he is doing it off 51.8 percent shooting. He is also doing it in only 29.1 minutes per game. Extend his floor time to 36 minutes, and his averages come out to 18.2 points and 8.7 rebounds.
Elite numbers? No.
All-Star worthy numbers? Most certainly, especially when you take into account his overall importance to his ballclub.
After a recent 22-point loss to the Sacramento Kings, the Celtics' third blowout loss in a row, K.G. said, "This is where all the plastic people melt." That is an outstanding quote, as Garnett is basically saying this is where the boys are separated from the men. With the new year now in full swing, it might be that time where K.G. starts to "flip the switch." We saw it during the second half of last season, and if his "plastic people" statement is any indication, we may be about to witness it again.
With the All-Star Game a little more than a month away, Garnett has some time to string together some dominant performances to stick out in the voters' minds.
Of course, it would help if he started getting some consistent support from his teammates. If Paul Pierce can start to get it going regularly and role players like Jason Terry and Courtney Lee can get hot, K.G.'s game will open up that much more.
Garnett may be getting older by the day, but that doesn't mean he can't still get up and down the floor and be a matchup nightmare for opponents. Once in a while, he'll do something that makes you question whether or not he is truly 36.
This alley-oop he took on the break from Rajon Rondo is a perfect example.
K.G. is someone who can do things that the majority of 20-something-year-old players in the NBA cannot do. That alone should merit him All-Star consideration. A guy who contemplated retirement last year remains a top 20-25 player in the league (at least), and he deserves to be paid homage for that.
This may be the last chance Garnett has at making the All-Star team. Show the man some respect and get him in, whether it be by fan voting or as a reserve.
All statistics in this article are accurate as of Jan. 1, 2013.
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