Well, not the T-Mac you're probably thinking of but one worth holding in high esteem nonetheless.
In his too-kindly worded piece linking to my comments on the Paul Pierce-Dirk Nowitzki discussion he had previously started, my pal Tim MacMahon over at the Dallas Morning News spent a few words harkening back to the Dirk-KG discussion we had back in March:
On a related note, Steve mentioned our debate about whether Dirk or Kevin Garnett is better. I took Dirk. He took KG. And I stand by my take on that one. Sub Dirk in for KG and the Celtics would have still been champions this season, just in a prettier fashion.
Still mulling this one over, but as I mentioned to Tim when last we chatted via e-mail, my initial impression is to guess this would not have been the case.
While Dirk's offensive explosiveness gives this team another dimension, it's inordinately hard to picture this group being as successful as it was this season without the defense being what it was. The Celts needed to play lock-down defense to hold off LeBron's Cavs in the second round, and frankly, I don't think we can say that happens with Dirk rather than Garnett. Further, the balanced Detroit offense could have caused this team immense problems without a presence like Garnett's in the Eastern Conference Finals, and it's hard to envision Rasheed Wallace shooting the poor 41.5 percent he did for the series with Dirk guarding him instead.
That being said, it's interesting to consider the flip-side. How would having KG instead of Dirk have changed the fate of this year's Mavs? We'll have to ponder that one some more.
As it stands, I'm pretty happy with the way everything has worked out thus far. But you knew that already.