Brooklyn Nets 2013-2014 Player Review: Kevin Garnett

Mike Ehrmann

When the Nets made the decision to acquire Jason Terry, Paul Pierce and Kevin Garnett, it was done for two reasons. The first was for the experience and leadership the trio provided. The second, and perhaps most important reason, was that they would help the team's spacing. If you think back to the series against the Bulls in 2013, the lack of spacing --primarily because Reggie Evans and Gerald Wallace could not or did not shoot-- was one of the big reasons why Brooklyn lost in seven games. With the new additions, the Nets looked to make a championship push.

The numbers

2013-2014

Kevin Garnett

Games Played

54

Minutes per game

20.5

True Shooting percentage

46.7

Assist rate

15.5

Turnover rate

13.1

Usage rate

19.4

Rebound rate

19.2

PER

13.3

Win Shares per 48

.054

To give you an idea as to what was expected coming into the year, here's what I wrote when asked who would be the team's MVP:

I'll say Kevin Garnett. In addition to all the savvy, experience, toughness, and whatever else you want to say about him, his effect on defense will be the most beneficial for the Nets. Even as Rondo and Bradley missed significant amounts of time, Garnett was able to anchor the Celtics defense and keep them afloat. Most impressively, Boston was 8 points better defensively per 100 possessions with Garnett in the game. He's still a great jump shooter and when you combine his defensive excellence with quality offensive production, he'll help the Nets be one of the op teams in the East.

Did this come to pass? Well, yes and no. Brooklyn was six points better per 100 possessions (100.5) with Garnett on the court as compared to when he was out of the game (106.6). It also helped that Garnett was the league's best on the defensive glass, collecting a career high 32.1 percent of the available defensive rebounds (he didn't qualify for the league lead. He was able to improve when he moved back to center after Brook Lopez and looked more comfortable there. He isn't able to match up successfully against the more athletic power forwards in the league, but he did a decent enough job against centers.

With Deron Williams, Brook Lopez, Paul Pierce and Joe Johnson in the lineup, Garnett was expected to be the fifth option on offense. That was the case, but Garnett still struggled mightily. He set career lows in true shooting percentage, free throw rate and offensive rating. He ended up having more success on the offensive glass as compared to years past (we should remember that the Celtics, by design, didn't place an emphasis on offensive rebounding), but was unable to convert on many of those opportunities. He shot a career low 48.48 percent inside of eight feet and that lack of success near the rim was one of the major reasons why the Nets were seven points worse per 100 possessions on offense when Garnett was on the court. Making matters worse for Brooklyn was Garnett turning the ball over a career high 15.5 percent of the time he had the ball. The Nets experienced more dry spells on offense than you would expect given the personnel on the roster, and Garnett's struggles made things worse.

Injuries and his minutes restriction had a negative impact on Garnett as well. Garnett suffered a back injury in late February and missed the entire month of March. Throughout the year, Jason Kidd and Nets management placed Garnett on a minutes restriction with the goal of preserving him for the playoff run. When the Nets did reach the playoffs, the minutes restriction remained intact, with Garnett reaching the 25 minutes played mark only three times. With the back injury occurring so late in the season, you can understand why Kidd kept KG restricted during the playoffs.

The highlight reel

Head back to the night Garnett and Pierce returned to Boston for the first time


Salary situation

Garnett will be making $12 million in the last year of the three year contract he originally signed with Boston in the 2012 offseason. The Boston contract had a provision that permitted the Celtics to buy him out for $6 million this summer, but as part of the big trade, the Nets agreed to guarantee the entire $12 million.

He needs to

Find his jumper. He has always been a reliable shooter throughout his career, but only shot 42.22 percent from the mid-range area, his worst since the lockout shortened 1998-1999 season. Staff writer Romy Nehme noticed something interesting and wrote:

KG is also letting more 15-19 ft errant jump shots fly than ever before. But it's not a matter of touch and range as it is of general rhythm and flow. What used to be tempo-steadying dribbles leading into his shot now resemble a stutter. Especially earlier in the season, KG could be seen drifting behind the three point line in halfcourt sets or after setting a pick instead of staking a claim in the post or at least assuming his post within reasonable firing range. And those costly precious inches have the effect of either alienating KG from a play altogether or forcing an awkward lunge back into two point territory to get his shot off.

He managed to regain some of his stroke as the season went on, but he wasn't as automatic from 15-19 feet as he was in Boston and Minnesota.

In the future

There's been talk (again) that Garnett might consider retirement. He's set to make $12 million and will be on a team that figures to compete for a playoff spot in 2014-2015. I think he'll be back.

I do wonder how he and Brook Lopez will co-exist. Garnett has excelled at the center position since moving there and has struggled when at the power forward spot. Along with Deron Williams, Lopez is one of the team's most important players. He will be the starting center when he returns and Garnett will have to readjust to the four position.

The other thing the Nets have to take into consideration as it relates to Garnett is Mason Plumlee. Plumlee was named to the All Rookie team and began to flourish when Garnett got injured in March. Plumlee figures to be a key contributor going forward and he will need as many minutes as possible for his development.

Grade: D

This was the worst season in Garnett's 19 year career. During November and December, he was the team's worst player. He was able to bounce back during January and February, but he was relatively non-existent during the playoffs. Garnett was never able to get into a true rhythm on offense and injuries along with a minutes restriction limited his opportunities to improve. The 2014-2015 season will probably the most important for Garnett since the 2009-2010 season (the year he injured his knee). He'll have a lot to prove and while I believe that he'll start next season, the success Brooklyn had downsizing and Plumlee's emergence will likely lead to even fewer minutes for Garnett.

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