Up for debate...
Who ranks better on the NBA's all-time list? Kevin Garnett or Dirk Nowitzki?
- Former Western Conference rivals from the late 90's to mid 00's.
- Two of the most versatile players standing around 7'0'' tall in NBA history
- Both players were/are icons of a respective franchises for over a decade and built them from the ground up.
- KG is one of the greatest defensive players of all-time vs. Nowitzki, who is one of the greatest shooters of all-time.
- Both former NBA MVPs
Who gets the nod, and why?
well if Dirk wins this title, then I'll definitely move him ahead of the conversation, as he's certainly the most versatile offensive big man that we've ever seen. Not only can the guy rebound, but he plays like a damn guard, so it's almost impossible to stop him. However, if he ends up choking this year like he did in 2006 and the few years following, then I'll have to go with Garnett for now. Not only is the guy one of the most versatile defensive players in the league, but he also single handedly transformed that Celtics team in a defense first kind of team with his leadership abilities; while still being courteous enough to allow Pierce to still be the captain.
I have to agree to a certain extent. This is a tough one. It's easy be in the moment and shoot Nowitzki up the list because of how "incredible" he has been in the playoffs this year. If the Mavs do end up losing this series, it will more likely be because the play of the supporting cast rather than Dirk choking, this time. If the Mavs do win, that catapolts Dirk way up there in the all-time ranks just from the fact alone that many had not put him in the top 25 or so all-time before these playoffs.
On the other hand, it may sound like a paradox for lack of a better term, but KG is one of the most popular players in NBA history (14X all-star) but is also to a great extent underrated by those who are judging him by his play in the last 2-3 years, where he has dropped off a bit in his 13-15th seasons. People forget that Garnett made the T-Wolves relevant during his time there. Without a supporting cast, he led the team to the playoffs almost every year. That may not seem like much, but before he got there and after he left, that has been the worst franchise in NBA history without debate. He was such a complete player that he was a top 1-3 fantasy basketball player in the NBA for a number of years due to his consistent 19-24pt scoring, top 3 NBA elite rebounder for many years, elite blks and stls, high FG % and great FT shooting. Very few were more consistent. That's the mark of an all-around player. Then he joined the Celtics and all of Steven's points in regard to what he has done for that team are on point.
If Dirk and the Mavs win this year, he will have done it with an inferior supporting cast to the Celtics team Garnett won with and that could be enough to put him ahead. All together, this is a pretty close comparison in my estimation.
Forgot to add that Garnett is tied for the most 1st Team All-NBA Defensive selections of all-time (9) and has won a Defensive Player of the Year Award. Not to mention 4x NBA rebounding leader.
Well to be fair though, I think if Dirk continues to play the way he has, then win or lose...his legacy will certainly go up. Before this year's playoffs, I used to always think of Dirk as a choke artist. A guy that plays great in the regular season, and against the Spurs for whatever reasons, but he rarely ever had the leadership skills to get it done in crunch time. Hell, before this year's playoffs, I used to put Dirk up there with guys like Charles Barkley who were great players, but were never known to be clutch players when it mattered.
However, I think even if he doesn't win a ring, and he plays as well as he has been, he'll go up in my estimation to be up there with clutch players like Karl Malone, John Stockton and Reggie Miller. Great clutch players that sadly never won a ring.
Edit: However, if he wins a ring, then I don't know...that might be debatable as to whether I would put him ahead of those players mentioned that were great clutch players that never got a ring. Probably ahead of Miller, but I don't know if I'd still put him ahead of Malone and Stockton though; even if Dirk gets a ring this year.
I agree with all of that. To build on your point, you may recall that out of all of the Western Conference playoff teams, the Mavs were the team everyone wanted to play in the 1st Rd. And that was in large part to how soft the Dirk led Mavs had been for many years. It's just been a huge turnaround this year. So much so, one could argue that If the Mavs were to win, that Dirk had one of the greatest postseasons in NBA history. That's a huge turnaround, and even if they lose, he is worthy of moving up the all-time list for his performance in this one postseason alone (when considering all of his career regular season accomplishments and 2 NBA Finals).
That's true. In a way, that kind of reminds of how people used to say the same thing about David Robinson before he got a ring. Although if Dirk wins a ring this year, I'd probably put him ahead of Robinson, as the Mavericks aren't as talented as the one that David won a couple of titles with. Not only that, but I remember he took a backseat to Tim Duncan during those title runs too; whereas Nowitzki isn't taking a backseat to anyone if he gets a ring this year.
Yeah. That's a good comparison to bring up with Robinson and Dirk, as both players have a lot of common parallels in terms of leading their teams to 50 win seasons every year and then failing miserably in the playoffs. I remember when Robinson won MVP and then got abused by Hakeem in the playoffs, much like Dirk won MVP and got destroyed by the #8 seeded Warriors in the 1st Rd.
Robinson, like KG, was an outstanding defensive player, but he also took a back seat to Duncan in his two championships, as you alluded to. So with that in mind, I would agree and put Dirk ahead of the Admiral if Dirk can go on to win these finals.
The German is an amazing player, and he has had a great career. I don't want him to win, but I do like him.
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