The Denver Nuggets have been on a youth movement over the past couple of seasons, and that helped push the Los Angeles Lakers to seven games in the first round. But can Denver win an NBA title with that youth?
And the Nuggets can opt to keep this current squad together and resign JaVale McGee and Andre Miller, or they can throw a curve ball and make a run after Celtics’ veteran big man Kevin Garnett – who will be seeking his final payoff in free agency.
Garnett may be 36 and going into his 17th season, but he has a Hall of Fame-type resume which features an MVP trophy, Defensive Player of the Year honor, 14-time All-Star selection, 9-time All-Defensive Team and 4-time All-NBA, an NBA title and two NBA Final appearances. He has led the Celtics in scoring (19.7 points) and rebounds (10.6) during the 2012 playoffs, both would also top all of Denver’s players.
Obviously, chasing after Garnett would mean the Nuggets would have to pass on McGee, who has shown star-potential with two very impressive performances in the playoffs (16 points and 15 rebounds in Game 3 and 21 and 14 in Game 5), but he also had four less than stellar performances (3.8 points and .167 FG percentage). Garnett on the other hand has scored more than 18 points in 11 of 16 playoffs games and has had 12 double-doubles in the playoffs.
Despite not being the offensive threat he once was, Garnett is still far better in the post than any of the Nuggets big man and has range out to 20 feet. And while he is not the shot-blocker that McGee is, he is still a force on defense and was chosen to the All-Defensive second team. Not to mention he has made it out of the first round the previous five years (two of which were with the Minnesota Timberwolves), while Denver has advanced just once in nine years.
And imagine the impact that Garnett would have on Kenneth Faried, who has a lot of similar qualities to The Big Ticket. Not only would Garnett bring out the best in Faried, he’d also create spacing in Denver’s half-court offense and give the Nuggets a vocal leader that they desperately need.
Of course, why would Garnett come to Denver after spending the previous five years with the Celtics? For one thing, Denver’s biggest need is Garnett’s biggest strength and it would make the Nuggets title contenders. Denver also has financial flexibility and need to prove they are serious about winning. And if the Celtics falls short in the Eastern Conference Final they may decide to go younger leaving Garnett searching for a new team and there aren’t many teams better off than the Nuggets right now. It also helps having two young, exciting stars like Faried and Ty Lawson.
McGee may have a bright future, but signing Garnett would show that the Nuggets are serious about winning now.