Kevin Garnett May Be First of Celtics' Big 3 to Go in Rebuilding Process

Dan Talintyre@@dantalintyreSenior Analyst IIJanuary 21, 2012

BOSTON, MA - JANUARY 16:  Kevin Garnett #5 of the Boston Celtics looks to pass around Kendrick Perkins #5 of the Oklahoma City Thunder on January 16, 2012 at TD Garden in Boston, Massachusetts. 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 Elsa/Getty Images)
Elsa/Getty Images

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

2010-11 Career This year

31.3 minutes

36.7 minutes 30.6 minutes
0.528 FG% 0.498 FG%

0.473 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

2010-11 Career This year
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

BOSTON, MA - JANUARY 16:  Paul Pierce #34 of the Boston Celtics tries to take a shot as Nazr Mohammed #8 of the Oklahoma City Thunder defends on January 16, 2012 at TD Garden in Boston, Massachusetts. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees t
Elsa/Getty Images

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.

2010-11 Career This season
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

PHOENIX, AZ - JANUARY 28:  (L-R) Ray Allen #20, Rajon Rondo #9, Kevin Garnett #5, Paul Pierce #34 and Shaquille O'Neal #36 of the Boston Celtics huddle up during the NBA game against the Phoenix Suns at US Airways Center on January 28, 2011 in Phoenix, Ar
Christian Petersen/Getty Images

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.

And despite some voicing that Pierce should be the man to go, the Celtics do struggle without him, as demonstrated with their losses to start the season to the Miami Heat and the New York Knicks.

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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