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View Full Version : Dirk vs Garnett: Jack McCallum / SI.com


V2M
03-06-2007, 04:56 PM
If you could have just one, which player gets the nod?
Posted: Tuesday March 6, 2007 11:38AM; Updated: Tuesday March 6, 2007 12:25PM

Who would you rather have?

Each week, SI.com's Jack McCallum analyzes two players of similar talents and/or on-court tendencies. (Contracts and salary-cap considerations are non-factors.)

I really got myself into it now. The last time I made a choice between two players of such high caliber was before the Christmas Day game between the Heat and the Lakers. I picked Kobe Bryant over Dwyane Wade, after which Wade went out and got himself 40 points and 11 assists, while Bryant looked like he had consumed too much eggnog and scored only 16 points in the Lakers' loss. Still, I stick by my pick.

And I'm going to stick by this one after I analyze the impossible task of deciding between Dirk Nowitzki of the Dallas Mavericks and Kevin Garnett of the Minnesota Timberwolves. I matched them because they are versatile, out-on-the-floor 7-footers who are still hungry for their first championship. San Antonio's Tim Duncan is, obviously, in their class (and may be above it), but he is more of a traditional post player and, anyway, he has three rings.

So, KG or Dirk?

Garnett's versatility is beyond reproach. By the time he hangs it up he will not be the best big man ever to play the game, but he may well be the best all-around big. Right now he is No. 1 in the NBA in efficiency, which measures all statistical categories. The fact that he gets 22.7 points and 12.6 rebounds is impressive enough, but he also gets 4.3 assists, 1.67 blocks and 1.3 steals.

Nowitzki, not nearly as nimble-footed, can't begin to match the blocks (0.86) or the steals (0.7). He is not a defensive stalwart. The question is whether his offense pushes him past Garnett. Nowitzki is averaging 25.4 points on 50 percent shooting, 9.6 rebounds and 3.5 assists. He is a much more accurate marksman than Garnett, and, further, much more dangerous since he shoots almost 43 percent from three-point range. Garnett is practically a nullity from the arc (8-of-44 for the season).

"Here's what I consider to be the difference between them," says one head coach. "Garnett will wear you down the whole game and you'll be reminded every minute of how good he is. But in the end, Dirk will be the one to beat you. Right now, he's the most dangerous offensive player in the league, and I'm including Kobe Bryant in that."

I tend to agree, and cast my lot with DIRK. And, well, if KG dominates him in their final meeting of the season, on April 11 at the Target Center, you know where to find me.

Underdog
03-06-2007, 08:37 PM
This is an unfair post for a fansite... Of course Dirk is the only person worth picking - if he & KG were tied in every aspect, the fact that Dirk is on the Mavs would be the obvious tie-breaker... Plus, Dirk pwns all!

chumdawg
03-06-2007, 09:24 PM
You have to admit that it would be interesting to imagine what it would be like if Garnett took Dirk's place on this Mavericks team. Of course this is something no Dallas fan could ever accept emotionally, and perhaps there is something to be said for that particular type of intangible. But I've always had the impression that Dirk is more of a Nellie-type player while Garnett is more of a Johnson-type player. It's interesting food for thought.

mqywaaah
03-06-2007, 10:53 PM
Dirk>Garnett. Period!

nashtymavsfan13
03-06-2007, 11:45 PM
No brainer, but good to see. I love the quote made by the coach at the very end.

LRB
03-06-2007, 11:45 PM
You have to admit that it would be interesting to imagine what it would be like if Garnett took Dirk's place on this Mavericks team. Of course this is something no Dallas fan could ever accept emotionally, and perhaps there is something to be said for that particular type of intangible. But I've always had the impression that Dirk is more of a Nellie-type player while Garnett is more of a Johnson-type player. It's interesting food for thought.

I would disagree. I think Dirk is much more of a Avery type player than a Nellie type player. Dirk has totally thrived in Avery's system and both he and Avery have a high appreciation of each other. I can't think of another super star player that approaches Dirk in coachability. And I think that's what Avery wants more than anything is a coachable player. Dirk not only does that, but sets the example for the whole team.

Switch Dirk for KG and the Mavs would still be an elite team and a serious contender for the championship. However, I don't think that the mavs would be near as good. I think that what really sets Dirk apart more than anything from KG is his leadership ability. I'm not saying that KG is a horrible leader, but I think Dirk has taken tremendous strides under Avery and may well be the best leader in the NBA now. I would also add that KG is extremely talented, but he has essentially peaked as a player, a very high peak mind you. Dirk I believe is ahead in overall talent and is still growing and has a good bit of room to grow in areas.

Now if the Mavs could figure a way to get KG on this team that would be the most ideal situation. Dirk and KG playing side by side would just be sick.

Thespiralgoeson
03-07-2007, 12:44 AM
You have to admit that it would be interesting to imagine what it would be like if Garnett took Dirk's place on this Mavericks team. Of course this is something no Dallas fan could ever accept emotionally, and perhaps there is something to be said for that particular type of intangible. But I've always had the impression that Dirk is more of a Nellie-type player while Garnett is more of a Johnson-type player. It's interesting food for thought.

I'm not sure about that. It seems to me that Dirk is at his most dangerous and efficient in isolation situations, breaking down the defense and faking his defender out of his shoes than he is in transition and such. True, Nellie's much better with creating mismatches and such, but really, isn't ANYBODY guarding Dirk going to be a mismatch? There's just nobody out there like him, and nobody who can guard him. In the past, teams could just throw a smaller defender at him and he'd have troubles, but that's just not the case anymore.

Either way, I'm not sure Dirk hasn't benefitted from Avery's slower, more half-court offense. Garnett would thrive on this team too, primarily because he's such a dangerous passer, and he's a fine scorer as well. But he's just not a player who can create his own shot in the same way Dirk can, or Kobe, or AI, T-Mac etc... And especially in today's NBA, with all the emphasis on scoring, I'll take a prolific scorer like Dirk over an all-around guy like KG (especially since Dirk is all-around pretty good himself.)

On the other hand, a frontline of KG, Howard, and Damp would be absolutely DEVASTATING on the defensive end. That frontline would block every shot, grab every rebound, and wreak utter havoc on the opposing team's offense.

Still, even in Avery's system, I would take Dirk over KG. Not by much though. Food for thought indeed.

chumdawg
03-07-2007, 01:42 AM
No, Dirk does still get guarded by small defenders. Just tonight I watched Carter take him one-on-one and Dirk passed out of it.

I firmly believe that Avery has a model in his mind of a winning basketball team. And that model doesn't include your post player shooting threes as a way of earning his money. I think Avery is a lot like Parcells. I remember him saying, in response to some question about using a receiver to throw an option pass or somesuch, that he subscribed to George Young's philosophy: Let the kickers kick, the blockers block, the runners run, the receivers catch, and the throwers throw.

I'm just saying that I believe Avery would, if he had his druthers, prefer a pure and legitimate post player to play the post...as long as the overall skill sets were comparable. It seems to fit with everything else he does.

Five-ofan
03-07-2007, 01:44 AM
No, Dirk does still get guarded by small defenders. Just tonight I watched Carter take him one-on-one and Dirk passed out of it.

I firmly believe that Avery has a model in his mind of a winning basketball team. And that model doesn't include your post player shooting threes as a way of earning his money. I think Avery is a lot like Parcells. I remember him saying, in response to some question about using a receiver to throw an option pass or somesuch, that he subscribed to George Young's philosophy: Let the kickers kick, the blockers block, the runners run, the receivers catch, and the throwers throw.

I'm just saying that I believe Avery would, if he had his druthers, prefer a pure and legitimate post player to play the post...as long as the overall skill sets were comparable. It seems to fit with everything else he does.
one problem with this, both are high post players and dirks better at it than kg.

chumdawg
03-07-2007, 01:45 AM
one problem with this, both are high post players and dirks better at it than kg.Which one defends the post better?

Five-ofan
03-07-2007, 01:51 AM
Which one defends the post better?
garnett. the probem with switching the two is that it would make the mavs ALOT worse offensively. no one on the mavs would be a dominant scorer. the mavs are built around dirk, to compliment his strengths and hide his weaknesses. now if you want to argue that the mavs would be better if donnie had been given kg to build around 9 years ago that is an argument to make and its interesting to think about but the mavs would be at least 5 games worse with kg instead of dirk.

chumdawg
03-07-2007, 01:59 AM
Meh, I don't know. The Mavs have offense to spare. It seems like defense is what they are always trying to get better at.

DOMINATOR
03-07-2007, 05:29 PM
i dont think Dirk can do what KG does in Minnesota... KG is THE team.
dirk is a better shooter but KG is more athletic can play ANY position and has much better defense.
plus KG gets a double double everynight most consistent player in the league, if he had better shooters he could average 7 apg.

i know some of yall are going to flame me because this is a Mavericks board.

dude1394
03-07-2007, 05:52 PM
Oh I think dirk could easily do what garnett is doing in minnie. lead them to a losing record? No problem.

alexamenos
03-07-2007, 05:54 PM
i know some of yall are going to flame me because this is a Mavericks board.

actually, you're going to get flamed because you're stupid....that this is a mavericks board makes it that much more convenient.

cheers

DOMINATOR
03-07-2007, 06:00 PM
actually, you're going to get flamed because you're stupid....that this is a mavericks board makes it that much more convenient.

cheers
lol nice arguement, the best you could do is call me stupid... for an opinion, at least i backed up my opinion

alexamenos
03-07-2007, 06:10 PM
the best you could do is call me stupid...

i'll need a bit more material to work with before I can do better than that. I look forward to reading many more of your posts.

cheers

jthig32
03-07-2007, 06:12 PM
i dont think Dirk can do what KG does in Minnesota... KG is THE team.
dirk is a better shooter but KG is more athletic can play ANY position and has much better defense.
plus KG gets a double double everynight most consistent player in the league, if he had better shooters he could average 7 apg.

i know some of yall are going to flame me because this is a Mavericks board.

Well, first of all, KG can't play any position. He's a versatile forward, but let's not go overboard.

Also, Dirk and Garnett are equal rebounders, imo. I think if you put Garnett on the Mavs, with their superior rebounding at other positions, you'd see his rebounds go down slightly. Inversely, Dirk on the Wolves would have quite a few more board opportunities.

As far as whether either team would be better:

I think the Mavs would take a step backwards, as they are currently constructed. In fact, I don't even think that's debateable. Dirk is head and shoulders above Garnett offensively, and the Mavs would struggle offensively quite a bit more often without Dirk. They would be better defensively, but they're already better defensively then they are offensively, I believe.

With Dirk on the Wolves, I think their defense would slip a bit, certainly. But, they're already a very average defensive team. Their offense, however, would improve dramatically. Also, it's a lot easier to find a defensive minded center to play alongside Dirk to help protect the rim that it is to find quality shooters to play alongside Garnett.

5-0 said it best earlier. What most casual fans don't realize is that Garnett and Dirk play a very similar offensive game. Neither is a true post player. Both of them operate most from the elbows. Dirk is just superior at it, period.

sike
03-07-2007, 06:27 PM
I agree....Dirk is gooder than KG.

LRB
03-07-2007, 10:58 PM
Meh, I don't know. The Mavs have offense to spare. It seems like defense is what they are always trying to get better at.

Then why are Mavs ranked higher in ppg allowed than in ppg scored? Seems that we're better at defending according to those stats than scoring.

LRB
03-07-2007, 11:05 PM
No, Dirk does still get guarded by small defenders. Just tonight I watched Carter take him one-on-one and Dirk passed out of it.

I firmly believe that Avery has a model in his mind of a winning basketball team. And that model doesn't include your post player shooting threes as a way of earning his money. I think Avery is a lot like Parcells. I remember him saying, in response to some question about using a receiver to throw an option pass or somesuch, that he subscribed to George Young's philosophy: Let the kickers kick, the blockers block, the runners run, the receivers catch, and the throwers throw.

I'm just saying that I believe Avery would, if he had his druthers, prefer a pure and legitimate post player to play the post...as long as the overall skill sets were comparable. It seems to fit with everything else he does.

Parcelles sucked at his time in Dallas. Avery was fastest to 100 wins in NBA history. Comparison between the two does not compute. Avery wants wins. And the best defense always has been and always will be a good offense. It just can't be all offense all the time. And even using your analogy, you would have offensive players who scored and defensive players who defended. I don't see Avery wanting this.

I just don't get where you're drawing up the picture that Avery would rather have KG than Dirk. Because I really can't see the TPuppies turning that trade down. Dirk is younger and arguably better and much cheaper. That's a hard combination to pass up. If Avery really wanted KG, then the Mavs could go get him. Package Dirk and a soon to expire contract or two and presto KG's here. Instead Avery is probably Dirk's biggest supporter. I just see lots of evidence to contradict your theory and nothing to support it.

LRB
03-07-2007, 11:06 PM
I agree....Dirk is gooder than KG.

Is that gooderestest? ;)

Thespiralgoeson
03-07-2007, 11:15 PM
No, Dirk does still get guarded by small defenders. Just tonight I watched Carter take him one-on-one and Dirk passed out of it.


Chum, of course he still gets guarded by smaller defenders. He's pretty much always guarded by a smaller defender because big men just can't keep up with him. But he does NOT struggle with smaller defenders the same way he did not that long ago. Hell, remember just two short seasons ago when it seemed like Marion and Bowen were both in his head? Marion especially. For a while, it seemed Dirk just never had a good shooting performance against the Suns. Now he eats both of them for breakfast. Hell, now the Pop doesn't even try putting Bowen on Dirk anymore and slides him over to guard Josh. Marion almost always guards Dirk and gets lit the hell up for 25, 30, or more.

Thespiralgoeson
03-07-2007, 11:29 PM
i dont think Dirk can do what KG does in Minnesota... KG is THE team.
dirk is a better shooter but KG is more athletic can play ANY position and has much better defense.
plus KG gets a double double everynight most consistent player in the league, if he had better shooters he could average 7 apg.

i know some of yall are going to flame me because this is a Mavericks board.

Son, you're not going to flamed for saying Garnett is a better player. There's at least a few regular posters here who feel that Garnett is the better of the two, some believe the best in the game even.

You are however going to get flamed for dumb, simplistic comments like what you just posted. (It'd also help if you learned to use commas properly.)

First of all, Dirk isn't just "a better shooter." He's by far and away the better player offensively. Really, they're not even close. Second, Garnett sure as hell CANNOT play any position. He's a phenominal passer, but you're sure as hell not going to see him play at either guard spot, and I'd wager he hardly ever plays center, if at all. Like Dirk, he can play three positions; 3, 4, and occasionally 5. In fact, in that respect I'd say Dirk is more versatile because he at least has the range to play the two, although you'll never see it happen, and I doubt he's less effective than Garnett at 5. And lastly, Garnett may look more athletic than Dirk, but I don't know that he is. He certainly has a higher verticle leap than Dirk, but on the other hand, he's definitely not any faster than Dirk either.

kingmalaki
03-08-2007, 12:45 AM
It depends on what you want. Dirk is obviously better offensively, and I would say he has a better history of stepping up as a go-to scorer in the clutch. Prior to last season I always thought Dirk deferred in the biggest moments (i.e. playoffs), but KG defers even more. Outside of scoring though, I think KG has Dirk beat in every category. It just depends on which you prefer...the offense or the versatility. Kind of like comparing Shaq to Olajuwon....

Personally I have always liked players who can excel on both sides of the ball. That's pretty rare and I like that versatility. It's not like the Mavs are the kind of team where Dirk is relied on to stop folks though. Similar to Bird on the Celtics....

chumdawg
03-08-2007, 01:08 AM
Parcelles sucked at his time in Dallas. Avery was fastest to 100 wins in NBA history. Comparison between the two does not compute. Avery wants wins. And the best defense always has been and always will be a good offense. It just can't be all offense all the time. And even using your analogy, you would have offensive players who scored and defensive players who defended. I don't see Avery wanting this.

I just don't get where you're drawing up the picture that Avery would rather have KG than Dirk. Because I really can't see the TPuppies turning that trade down. Dirk is younger and arguably better and much cheaper. That's a hard combination to pass up. If Avery really wanted KG, then the Mavs could go get him. Package Dirk and a soon to expire contract or two and presto KG's here. Instead Avery is probably Dirk's biggest supporter. I just see lots of evidence to contradict your theory and nothing to support it.LRB, of course you would never trade Dirk for KG, in the real world. I didn't mean to even suggest that could be the case. That's just a trade you never do.

But still, it wouldn't surprise me if AJ would draft KG first if he were drafting his dream team in some sort of parallel universe.

I don't mean that at all as any sort of knock against Dirk. I'm just thinking about the style the coach likes to play, that's all. Both Dirk and KG are in the very small handful of best players in the league. Anyone who *would* have to make that hypothetical choice would have a tough call indeed.

LRB
03-08-2007, 04:08 AM
LRB, of course you would never trade Dirk for KG, in the real world. I didn't mean to even suggest that could be the case. That's just a trade you never do.

But still, it wouldn't surprise me if AJ would draft KG first if he were drafting his dream team in some sort of parallel universe.

I don't mean that at all as any sort of knock against Dirk. I'm just thinking about the style the coach likes to play, that's all. Both Dirk and KG are in the very small handful of best players in the league. Anyone who *would* have to make that hypothetical choice would have a tough call indeed.

Well if you're talking about drafting one over the other, is a totally different call. I think KG was much closer to being a superstar NBA player when he was drafted than Dirk was. And there were a lot of NBA GM's who passed over drafting Dirk and one super idiot GM who traded Dirk for a Tractor Trailor. Dirk's success is what really has changed how GM's draft more Euro's now.

And if Avery had drafted KG, then the makeup of the rest of the Mav would most likely have been drastically different so as to better compliment KG.

But this is pretty much a moot point to discuss, because it's impossible to tell what anyone would do in that whacky semi-parallel universe. And of course getting KG as consolation instead of getting Dirk would be like getting a Lexus as consolation for not getting a Mercedes. Not bad at all.

Murphy3
03-08-2007, 08:02 AM
I wouldn't want KG...Dirk just makes this team so much better offensively. I don't think that KG would do the same. Dirk makes everything easier for this team on offense. I actually think that if you replace Dirk with KG that the Mavs would struggle entirely too often with the ball. I think you'd see Terry, Howard, and Stack's offensive efficiency drop. You don't have to double KG, and he's not likely to beat you on that side of the court. Dirk is the offensive focus for other teams every time he steps on the court. He makes life so much easier for everyone else on the team.

sike
03-08-2007, 02:21 PM
Is that gooderestest? ;)
welcome back working man!

sike
03-08-2007, 02:22 PM
I wouldn't want KG...Dirk just makes this team so much better offensively. I don't think that KG would do the same. Dirk makes everything easier for this team on offense. I actually think that if you replace Dirk with KG that the Mavs would struggle entirely too often with the ball. I think you'd see Terry, Howard, and Stack's offensive efficiency drop. You don't have to double KG, and he's not likely to beat you on that side of the court. Dirk is the offensive focus for other teams every time he steps on the court. He makes life so much easier for everyone else on the team.
KG is no where near the threat that Dirk is...better rebounder and defender...but Dirk is a far better offensive playerman...

DarenG
03-08-2007, 03:50 PM
KG is no where near the threat that Dirk is...better rebounder and defender...but Dirk is a far better offensive playerman...

Can we have a combination of KG's defense with Dirk's offense? :D

stuportremens
03-08-2007, 06:38 PM
KG is so overrated.

Him and AI are the two greatest hollow stat guys in history, imo.

Five-ofan
03-08-2007, 06:47 PM
KG is so overrated.

Him and AI are the two greatest hollow stat guys in history, imo.
i give you adrian dantley.

DarenG
03-08-2007, 06:59 PM
I am not going to argue the overrated point. However, I would love to have seen what some of these guys could do on real teams. Dantly?!?!? Wow, that guy retired in early 90's right? You pulled that one out of nowhere.

stuportremens
03-08-2007, 07:15 PM
However, I would love to have seen what some of these guys could do on real teams.

Go watch the thuggets.

Maybe Denver can trade Melo for KG so AI & KG can team up, rack up great stats and celebrate many spectatcular losses.

Five-ofan
03-08-2007, 07:38 PM
Go watch the thuggets.

Maybe Denver can trade Melo for KG so AI & KG can team up, rack up great stats and celebrate many spectatcular losses.
no, kg and ai would absolutely scare the hell out of me. the only thing that would scare me more is kobe and kg.


as for the dantley mention, that guy was the epitome of a hollow stats guy. yeah hes been retired but im pretty sure he had said of all time.

chumdawg
03-08-2007, 10:44 PM
Former Mavericks great.

That Aguirre trade still pisses me off.

Murphy3
03-08-2007, 10:44 PM
AI on any team doesn't scare me.