Doctor MJ wrote:To me this is the essence of things in a nutshell with one more thing:
People considered Garnett to be right up there with Duncan as of 2004, but from then until he left Minnesota his stature fell off immensely, and really it never fully recovered despite getting a significant boost in Boston.
Key thing here: It wasn't simply that Duncan opened up a big lead over Garnett over the years '04-07, it was that Garnett essentially had judgment passed against him as "not good enough to lead a team on his own". He got put into a different, lower category relative to Duncan.
That's how it was for most, if not all, of us who currently rank KG highly. We felt that same "he deserves to be in a lower tier" feeling, originally went with it, but then later realized that we had damned KG for something that could have easily just been bad luck.
For the record, I tend to go back and forth between Duncan, Garnett, and Hakeem for spots 5-7. Lately I've had Duncan in the 5 spot and put Garnett alternatingly in the 6 or 7 spot.
Regarding the bolded: People considered TMac to be as good or better than Kobe until around 05, maybe 06. Once injuries derailed TMac's career, that narrative died a quick death, but it was a real, palpable thing before then despite Kobe winning in LA and TMac losing in the first round every year (see: KG vs Duncan). Kobe winning 2 more titles in 09/10 only made people call that claim even sillier in hindsight.
TMac's PER, BPM and VORP between 01-07, while not better than KG's on average, at least warrants a closer examination of value (in so far as you favor those metrics) as TMac ranks ahead of Garnett in those categories for several individual seasons (same with NPI RAPM), despite KG's obvious edge on the defensive side of the ball.
Do you think if TMac had gotten traded to a team other than Houston and won 1 title with another two or three deep postseason runs (while avoiding injuries) he'd be justified as being a top 10 player of all time? What about just better than KG (with both outside the top 10), or better than Kobe (ditto)?
Yes this is a hypothetical question, but a lot of the basis KG's supporters build their argument on is more or less "advanced stats + impact" and/or "well KG was about as good as Duncan, so if KG had Duncan's teammates he would have won about the same number of titles as Duncan"....which is also a huge hypothetical. So I think it's a fair way to frame this question: Assuming T-Mac had a late(r) career trajectory that mirrored KG's and resulted in at least 1 championship, how high on the ATG list could you see yourself ranking him
Just to be clear, I in no way think that TMac has a case, hypothetical or otherwise, against KG, Duncan or Kobe. I'm just trying to understand the thought process better that you used to come to the conclusion that KG and Duncan, by necessity, must be so close to each other on the all time rankings list.