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Versus Volume Two: Kevin Garnett vs Dirk Nowitzki

Who do you think is better?

Two of the greatest power forwards the NBA has ever seen, Kevin Garnett and Dirk Nowitzki are usually ranked two and three all-time behind Tim Duncan at their position.

These two players have similar legacies, but their career resumes tell a different story.

Welcome to the second volume of my Versus series, let’s dive right in to it.

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Dirk Nowitzki

Dirk is one of the all-time great NBA players, and an international legend. The German power forward is known for his 21 years with the Dallas Mavericks. He led a team of role players past the LeBron led Miami big-three to the Mavericks only NBA Championship thus far.

Career Accolades

Dirk was a 14x all-star and made 12 All-NBA teams during his 21 year career. Nowitzki won the league’s MVP award in 2007.

Nowitzki won the NBA Finals in 2011, where he also won the NBA Finals MVP award.

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However, Dirk’s legacy goes beyond his accolades, as shown by his signature fadeaway mid-range jump shot being shadowed on the Mavericks’ court.

Kevin Garnett

Arguably the most intense player the NBA has ever seen, Kevin Garnett played his entire career at 110%. Garnett was drafted straight out of high school, the first to do so in about 20 years at the time. Garnett grew his game with the Timberwolves, before being traded to the Celtics where he became a champion. He bounced around a little at the end of his career, but his legacy is not tarnished by that.

Career Accolades

Garnett was a 15x All-Star and 9x All-NBA selection. Garnett was a Swiss army knife on the court; he was the 2007-08 NBA’s Defensive Player Of the Year, the 2003-04 NBA league MVP, and led the league in rebounds four times.

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On top of all that, KG made nine NBA All-Defensive teams. He won the 2008 NBA finals with the Boston Celtics, the 17th banner for the C’s.

Conclusion

Two very similar players: neither played college basketball, both played 21 seasons in the NBA, and they both put together Hall of Fame careers. Garnett was inducted in 2020, and Nowitzki will most likely be inducted as soon as he is eligible.

Personally, I give Kevin Garnett the advantage over Dirk Nowitzki in all-time rankings. Dirk was like no other player in the league, he was an extremely skilled scorer/shooter. He created an era of seven foot tall players shooting jump shots and three pointers.

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Looking at just offensive numbers, Dirk would be clearly the better choice. But there is more to it than that. Garnett was a better defender, rebounder, and playmaker.

In terms of just the legacies they left, they are extremely close, but the gap between them in an all-time ranking is bigger than most might expect.

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