Friday, August 31, 2012
Over/Under: Kevin Garnett
By Chris Forsberg
AP Photo/Charles KrupaEach weekday for a three-week span, ESPN Boston colleague Greg Payne and I are playing a game of over/under while trying to predict the potential production for a Celtics player during the 2012-13 campaign.
Can Kevin Garnett maintain his numbers at age 36?
Today's target: Kevin Garnett.
Minutes per game: 30.5
* Forsberg: Over. I think Garnett's minutes will come down a bit (averaging 31.2 minutes per game over the past two seasons), but it'll probably be right around our projected benchmark. The Celtics just don't have enough pure size to drastically reduce KG's workload, unless the new offensive additions allow Rivers to lean heavy on defensive-minded Jason Collins or rookie Fab Melo develops quickly. Even at age 36, Garnett can handle his typical workload if those minutes are managed right (though a few more lopsided wins to rest the veteran legs of Garnett and Paul Pierce wouldn't be a bad thing for Boston during the 2012-13 campaign).
* Payne: Under. Expect to see the 5-5-5 plan in place again this season. Doc Rivers won't hit that exact mark every game though, and if the C's win as often as they should, Garnett should see plenty of fourth-quarter rest throughout the year.
FG attempts per game: 12
* Forsberg: Under. Even though the postseason hammered home the fact that Boston is a much better team when Garnett's attempts go up, he remains one of the most unselfish players in the game and new offensive weapons will bring his shot totals back down after last season (13 FGA per game).
* Payne: Under. Garnett, like Pierce, will probably see slight dips in his offensive numbers. What's more important is Garnett getting 12+ touches come playoff time.
Rebounds per game: 8.5
* Forsberg: Under. Garnett's defensive rebound percentage was right at his career average last season (25.8 percent) and while he remains Boston's best rebounding big man, a chance for a slightly reduced workload could drive his per-game average down a bit.
* Payne: Under. Garnett will probably be in the 7-8 rebounds per game range. The C's should be a rebounding-by-committee team this season with no true standout guy on the boards.
Games played: 76
* Forsberg: Under. Entering his 18th NBA season, Garnett has spent nearly half his life playing professional basketball. There's more than 50,000 minutes (regular season and playoffs) on his tires. The Celtics have to tread carefully with him and while he'll want to be on the floor each night, Boston can't push too hard when bumps and bruises pop up. Garnett missed six games last season, including some for rest at the end of the regular season. It's reasonable to expect a similar amount of nights off next season, even with the return to an 82-game grind.
* Payne: Under. It's impossible to predict injuries, but given his age, it's safer to believe Garnett will deal with at least a small handful of nicks and bruises this season, and the C's will take every precaution necessary, meaning he'll probably sit more games than needed in order to fully recover.
Your turn: Offer your over/under predictions in the comments section. Hop HERE to read the full over/under series.