Not a T-Mac-level travesty – which was narrowly avoided – or an Allen Iverson-level travesty – which, sadly, couldn’t be avoided – but a travesty in its own right nonetheless.
KG has missed 11 games, people. Out of only 40. That’s more than a quarter of the season. For somebody to miss that kind of time and still be named an All-Star starter, it’s for one of two reasons. 1) He was having a transcendent season during his time on the floor, and should be justly rewarded for it despite missing some time with injury, or 2) It’s a fan-voted mockery. And I’ll just say Garnett’s season has been far from transcendent.
KG is actually having one of the most pedestrian seasons of his career. Not only are his numbers down pretty much across the board (his scoring and rebounding averages are the second-lowest of his career), but his once-unmatched defense has even slipped.
Gone are the days when Garnett had the quickness to defend shorter players on the perimeter; he simply doesn’t have the lateral quickness to do it any more. Gone are the days when he would snuff out plays before they even began; he now has enough trouble focusing on his own man. He’s still very good defensively, just not great.
Quickly, Garnett has gone from perhaps the single most valuable player in the league to just another piece in the puzzle. And “just another piece in the puzzle’s” don’t deserve All-Star berths. At least not when they’ve missed over a quarter of the season.
Garnett’s field goal percentage is the highest of his career, but he’s done it as a role player. Rarely, if ever, does Garnett create his own shot anymore. Remember in Minnesota, when they used to just dump it on the blocks to KG and let him go to work, waiting for whatever miraculous concoction of a post move he’d come up with next?
Not anymore. Now he’s a seven-foot catch-and-shoot guy. He’s a glorified Mark Blount. (Very glorified, admittedly.)
And role players don’t deserve a spot on the All-Star team. Not when they’ve missed over a quarter of the season.
Don’t get me wrong. Garnett’s absence has proven his profound effect on whether the Celtics win basketball games. I know they are an infinitely better basketball team with KG in the lineup, even the oft-hobbling version, than they are without him. Garnett’s return to the lineup should solidify the C’s rotation, bolster its starting lineup and boost its bench. His presence should help shore up Boston’s defense and return its ‘Ubuntu’ offensive philosophy.
But to call him an All-Star? In a season that has seen him miss more than a quarter of the games? In a season that has seen him be far from dominant on either end of the basketball? In a season that has had more people wondering what the hell is wrong with KG than thinking about how well he’s played?
No, that shouldn’t have happened. Regardless of how much I wish Garnett deserved his All-Star berth, I can’t. I just can’t.
I’d be lying.