Charley Rosen of Hoopshype has put together a list of players who he thinks are likely to disappoint this season and two of them are Kevin Garnett and Paul Pierce.
Of Garnett, he writes...
At age 37, he’s taken the court nearly 1,500 times, so it’s no surprise that his effectiveness has been diminishing for several years. Even in his prime, KG was known around the league for his impotence in clutch situations. If he’s still very aggressive at the other end of the court, his effectiveness on defense is limited to playing keep-away on posted-up opponents.
KG is now increasingly slow off the floorboards and slow to react to opponents who can turn-face-and-go. Despite his self-aggrandizing chest-beating, he talks a better game of defense than he can play.
Look for Garnett to play with his accustomed zeal, but to be more of a jump-shooter than he ever was.
Of Pierce, he's a bit kinder...
After last season’s All-Star game, PP’s legs were dead. His 36-year-old wheels will show some spring early in this season, but by Christmas his offense (like Garnett’s) will consist mostly of set-shots and pull-up jumpers.
At best, Pierce will be reduced to the status of an auxiliary scorer.
Well, lets' do some fact checking.
First, Pierce since Rosen makes specific claim about his post-All Game play. Pierce did have a sub-par playoff series vs. the Knicks, shooting poorly (36.8 percent overall, 26.8 percent from three) and averaging 19.2 per game. But in the regular season, post All-Star break, there's no tangible proof that Pierce's legs were "dead." In fact, the opposite is true.
All Pierce's critical stats were higher in the 25 games he played after the break than his season averages. He averaged 18.8 points, compared to 18.4 for the season; shot 48.4 percent overall after the break, compared to 43.6 for the season. From deep, he shot 42.5 percent after the break (better than Deron Williams), compared to 38.0 percent for the season. His rebounding numbers (6.3 per game) was the same before and after the All-Star break and his assist numbers after the All-Star break were almost one a game better, 5.6 to 4.8.
Pierce also had 10 games of 20+ points after the All-Star game and in one three-game, five-day stretch at the end of March, he had a triple double of 20, 10 and 10 and two other games of 24, 15 and 5 and 19, 10 and 8. No dead legs there.
As for Garnett, Rosen offers no statistical breakdown to back up his claims but does indulge in his usual crankiness. That said, it's no secret that the Nets got KG at least as much for his leadership as for his defense and so far, we've heard no complaints. (We would also note that he did lead the playoffs in rebounds per game, at 13.0)
Bottom line: of course players 36 and 37 could disappoint, but no proof is offered here.
- HoopsHype - Big names that will disappoint you - Charley Rosen - Hoopshype