Rajon Rondo described best what happens on the court when Kevin Garnett sits down with the word "chaos". Chaos indicates a lack of organization, a lack of continuity, and a lack of anything working. These all describe the Celtics when Kevin Garnett is not on the floor. Everyone has heard somewhat of the problem, but its tough when you take a look at the numbers and realize that the problem has been around for a while but it is so hard to fix.
Lets try and see just how important Kevin Garnett is to this team. Hes our best individual rebounder (both defensive and overall), a critical passing hub and scorer, and obviously our best and most impactful defender. The struggles of the team without him are well documented through +/- numbers, if we remember the staggering stats that were brought up last year in the playoffs (The Celtics were a combined +121 points when KG was on the court, and -77 when he was off. That averages out to +13.4 a game vs -8.6 through 9 playoff games). But here are some more interesting facts, facts that I found astounding.
Last year, no unit that played more than 10 minutes together that did not feature Kevin Garnett had a positive overall rating. None. The best lineup (Rondo, Ray, Pietrus, Paul, Bass) still had an overall rating of -5. Another fun fact: No lineup that played more than 10 minutes together without Kevin had a defensive rating of under 110. Not 100, 110. The amazing disparity of the Celtics defense with and without him cannot be understated. When Kevin Garnett leaves, the defense disappears.
The main problem: How can we fix this? Clearly its not an easy solution. Let me start off by saying that Darko is not the solution. I was never happy about adding Darko to this team, and his decent preseason did nothing to change my mind. This guy just is not a good player. He blocks shots, and is a big body, but even with that he makes a minimal impact defensively. He is far too passive and just poor in that area.
The Bass/Sullinger frontcourt also is not working. Sullinger is a big reason our defense is so bad. Its not really his fault, as most rookies do not have a positive impact on their teams, but our team is depending on him too much. His defense is nowhere near NBA-level right now and his rebounding is useful but not enough to offset that. His minutes need to be cut, and main recipient of those minutes should be Chris Wilcox.
Chris Wilcox is really the only solution our team has to try and lessen the pain when Kevin Garnett sits. Wilcox is nowhere near the defender Garnett is, but his veteran IQ will help the communication breakdown that occurs when Garnett sits. Wilcox clearly is a big energy guy, and he is pretty familiar with Doc's system. I would think he would also be our most vocal guy among the other bigs we have. He is also arguably our best rebounder after Garnett, and his presence there would help with the breakdown on the boards that also occurs without Garnett.
Wilcox is not 100% right now, but giving him heavy minutes to cover up for Garnett is the best solution this team has to stop the utter disappearance of this team and its defense once Kevin Garnett sits. And whenever you think about Kevin, never forget how important he is to this team.
Jun Pang 11/10/2012 07:34:00 PM Tweet Edit