Why Kevin Garnett is the Second Best Player of the Decade

Steven ResnickSenior Writer IOctober 9, 2009

It would be easy to say that Kobe Bryant was the best player of the decade there are also arguments that can be made that say he isn't and in fact possibly drops down to the third best player of the decade. It's all a matter of opinion.

Kelly Dwyer recently on Yahoo created a list of the 10 greatest players of the decade. Here's the list:

10. Allen Iverson

9. Tracy McGrady

8. Dwyane Wade

7. Jason Kidd

6. Shaquille O'Neal 

5. LeBron James

4. Dirk Nowitzki

3. Kobe Bryant

2. Kevin Garnett

1. Tim Duncan

For the whole list I don't believe that Dwyer got the list right, but for the first three I do agree with him that Duncan has been the best, Garnett has been the second best, and Bryant has been the third.

Andrew Ungvari in his article Bleacherreport titled "Uncontested Shots: Latest on the NBA GM Survey, The Decade's Best, and More" is quoted as stating the reason on why he wouldn't have Garnett as number two as this "Garnett is entering his 15th NBA season and his teams have made it past the first round of the playoffs only three times."

I will say that is an interesting point, but has no bearing on being the best in terms of the decade. If that logic applies then that means that Peyton Manning in the NFL doesn't deserve to be on top of the list for the greatest quarterback of the decade.

Yet, Manning has a Super Bowl win! Manning also has had his troubles getting his teams out of the first round of the playoffs as well. Like Garnett, Manning has been on three teams that have made it past the first round.

So, the point is that when looking at the list for the best in the decade it means what they have done in total, yes the post season can play an important role in determining the eventual pick of being the best of the decade if those two players stats are similar in the regular season.

Look at Garnett throughout the decade with the Minnesota Timberwolves he was the heart and soul of the team rarely was he ever surrounded by someone who could take the burden off of him as being the best player on the team.

Also, no one is going to mistake Garnett's passion and being a team player. Garnett is the player that will do whatever it takes to win. His heart and his determination is what stands out the most about him. He wears his emotion on his sleeve and he's incredibly intense when he's playing.

Garnett for the decade has averaged:

21.4 points per game, 11.9 rebounds per game, 4.6 assists, 1.36 steals, and 1.58 blocks.

Shooting wise Garnett is at 50.2 percent from the field and 79.7 percent from the free throw line.

In the playoffs Garnett has averaged:

22.6 points per game, 13.7 rebounds per game, 5.3 assists, 1.1 steals per game, and 1.3 blocks per game.

For the playoff shooting wise 45.7 percent from the field and 76 percent from the free throw line.

Again Garnett has a Championship Ring that he won as a member of the Boston Celtics on a team where he actually had other players around him that took the pressure off of him. Basketball is a team game and Garnett has proved that you can't do it all on your own.

In terms of recognitions and awards Garnett has plenty.

Garnett has an MVP Award as well as the Defensive Player of the Year Award. Along with that he's lead the NBA in rebounding twice, come in second three times, third twice, and fifth once.

Meaning that eight of the 10 years in the decade Garnett has been in the top five and going further he also had been either first or second for half of the decade in rebounding.

He's been also a four time First Team All-NBA, three time Second Team All-NBA, one Third Team All-NBA, eight time First Team All-Defensive selection, and two time Second Team All-Defensive selection.

Ungvari in the same article claims Garnett "In fact, he was practically a non-factor in the majority of the Celtics-Lakers 2008 NBA Finals."

Yes, for half of that series Garnett didn't shoot the ball particularly well or score, but there's more to basketball then just scoring points. Look at what Garnett did defensively and rebounding wise.

In fact what wasn't mentiond that Garnett shut Pau Gasol down holding him under 20 point in every game including a game where Gasol wasn't even able to score in double figures, also thanks to Garnett's rebunding presence he held him under double digit in rebounds twice.

Maybe offensively Garnett wasn't a factor, but defensively Garnett definitely was. That's what makes Garnett a great player he doesn't have to score 30 points a game to be effective.

Another issue for Ungvari is the fact that he had Shaq as the second best player of the decade. While it would seem like the numbers have been there for Shaq his numbers continue to fall since he left the Lakers and has become more of a second option then dominating presence on a team.

No longer is Shaq a dominant scorer or rebounder and with Shaq's free throw abilities it knocks him down on the list as Dwyer had him sixth.

Another reason although that doesn't reallly have much to do with the basketball court is the public perception of Garnett. He's never been a player who's gotten bad publicity.

While Shaq and Bryant have gotten bad publicity due to certain situations. It may not have anything to do with how they play basketball, but it does leave a negative perception of both Shaq and Bryant.

Is Garnett the second best player of the decade? Yes he is!  


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