Why Kevin Garnett Will Be the Most Important Player on the Brooklyn Nets

Andy HuSenior Writer IIJuly 19, 2013

BOSTON, MA - MAY 3:  Paul Pierce #34 of the Boston Celtics and Kevin Garnett #5 exchange words in the final moment in the 4th quarter in Game Six of the Eastern Conference Quarterfinals of the 2013 NBA Playoffs on May 3, 2013 at TD Garden in Boston, Massachusetts. The Celtics lost 88-80. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. (Photo by Jim Rogash/Getty Images)
Jim Rogash/Getty Images

The Brooklyn Nets made the biggest move this offseason by triggering a mega deal that saw them acquire Kevin Garnett, Paul Pierce and Jason Terry from the Boston Celticsvia Mike Mazzeo of ESPN.

Although all three players are proven veterans who have all won a championship in their illustrious careers, Garnett will quickly become the team's most important player next season and for the years to come.

From an outside glance, it looks like Garnett's years as a productive NBA superstar have come to an end. In his last season with the Celtics, he averaged 14.8 points and 7.8 rebounds in just 29.7 minutes per game, according to Basketball Reference. Obviously, he won't be able to play the same number of minutes compared to his prime years, but he contributes much more on the floor than his numbers suggest.


Defensive Anchor

Last season, the Celtics were a net plus-2.5 when Garnett was on the floor, and a minus-3.5 when he was on the bench. That's a net plus-6.0 caused by only one player on the team, which exemplifies his importance to the team.

During the postseason, Garnett's impact was felt even more. He single-handedly improved the Celtics by 17.8 points per 100 possessions when he was on the floor in the first-round series against the New York Knicks.

According to John Hollinger's NBA Team Stats, the Nets were just 18th in the league in defensive efficiency and allowed opposing teams to score an average of 103.6 points per 100 possessions. It also doesn't help that they were playing at the third-slowest pace in the league, which makes every possession extremely important when they operate in a half-court set most of the time.

Although Brook Lopez, Kris Humphries, Reggie Evans and Andray Blatche made up a promising frontcourt last season, Garnett brings a whole new dimension of toughness and a defensive mindset down low that the Nets haven't had in a long time.

The good thing about Garnett is that he will still be productive in whatever minutes he's given. Throughout the last few seasons, his minutes were steadily declining, but his efficiency and per-36 minute production was still similar.

Last season, Garnett registered a PER of 19.2, which is approximately the same as his PER of 19.4 in the 2009-10 season, proving that he can still efficiently produce his numbers whenever he's on the floor.


Ability to Stretch the Floor

The Nets have some great isolation players in Pierce, Joe Johnson and Brook Lopez, but they will need players on the team to play off the ball.

That's where Garnett comes in.

According to Hoop Data, Garnett shot an astounding 47.3 percent from 16-23 feet for the past three seasons while attempting over five shots per game from that area. He's not much of a three-point shooter, but he can certainly step out of the paint and knock down those shots when he has to.

Lopez, who will probably be the face of the franchise in the next few years, will see his game expand exponentially with a prominent stretch-4 like Garnett playing alongside him.

Furthermore, it allows Deron Williams, Johnson and Pierce to play around with more offensive sets, with Garnett ready to pick-and-pop from the perimeter.

Even though Garnett isn't a dominant post presence anymore, he has improved in other areas on offense to prolong his career. For a team where most of the stars need the ball in their hands to be effective, Garnett provides a totally different aspect.