Brooklyn's Kevin Garnett swatted five shots in Monday's 108-102 win over the Philadelphia 76ers, bringing his career total to 2,001 blocks. Garnett is the 18th player in NBA history to block 2,000 shots, and he's third on the all-time blocks list among active players, behind only San Antonio's Tim Duncan and free-agent center Marcus Camby.
During his time with the Timberwolves, Garnett was known more for his prolific scoring and rebounding than his intimidating defense. He blocked at least 1.5 shots per game in each of his first nine seasons in the league and scored better than 20 points per game in each of his final nine seasons in Minnesota.
While the blocks certainly drew some attention, it wasn't until Garnett was traded to the Celtics that he developed a reputation as a defense-first player. On a team that didn't need him to score 20 points every night, KG turned his focus to the defense, making the Celtics an excellent defensive team from 2007-08 to 2012-13.
Oddly enough, Garnett's block numbers actually went down as his defensive reputation went through the roof. After blocking 1.7 shots per game for the Timberwolves in 2006-07, he hasn't topped 1.3 per game since leaving Minnesota. Part of the decline is due to decreased playing time, but there's little question that fading athleticism played a role.
In terms of his all-time ranking among shot-blockers, Garnett is unlikely to climb much further up the ladder. He needs 27 blocks to pass Larry Nance for 17th all-time and 82 to pass George Johnson for 16th. With the speculation that this could be Garnett's final season, there's a chance that he won't catch either player.
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