May 4, 2012; Boston, MA, USA; A pair of Boston Celtics fans wear masks of Boston Celtics point guard Rajon Rondo (not pictured) and Boston Celtics forward/center Kevin Garnett (not pictured) before game three against the Atlanta Hawks in the Eastern Conference quarterfinals of the 2012 NBA Playoffs at TD Garden. Mandatory Credit: Greg M. Cooper-US PRESSWIRE
Sure, LeBron James won the MVP. Happy for him. Hope he has a long summer to enjoy it. Rajon Rondo, however, was the Celtic that got the most MVP votes, and for good reason. He led the league in assists and was and is the straw the stirs the Celtics drink.
Rondo earned eight votes -- 2 fourth-place votes and 6 fifth-place votes -- for a total of 12 points. That put him one point behind Orlando's Dwight Howard, but ahead of names like Phoenix's Steve Nash (7), Miami's Dwyane Wade (6), Oklahoma City's Russell Westbrook (4) and Dallas' Dirk Nowitzki (4).
With that said, during the playoffs, we've seen Kevin Garnett's irreplaceable contributions on full display. Sure, his offense has stepped it up on a few occasions as needed, but it is more than that. His overall impact on the team is palpable. In fact, he's getting recognized as the best performer in the playoffs across the whole league.
Our own Jack Jemsek broke down the numbers this weekend on CelticsBlog.
The net plus-minus of 51.5 points per 48 minutes is not a typo . . . it is attributed to the Celtics outscoring the Hawks by 74 points with Garnett on the court (which averaged about 80% of the court time), and then was compounded by the fact that the Hawks had a 46 points advantage when KG was on the bench. This differential sets Garnett apart from anyone else's contribution on the team, and definitely highlights intangibles Garnett brings on the defensive side of the ball . . . the kind of contributions that don't show up in the box score.
Those are some incredible stats. You can see why Doc has to walk a fine line each night between keeping him rested and healthy (because he's so valuable) and keeping him on the court (because the team is awesome with him and mediocre without him).