We received more than 300 responses to last week's Choosing Sides between Dallas' Dirk Nowitzki and Minnesota's Kevin Garnett. Here is a sampling of what you had to say:
Chris of Farmington, Minn.: "Dirk is a great offensive player, but he has
the supporting cast around him that KG has never really had. KG consistently puts up solid
numbers regardless of who's around him. The one year the Timberwolves put decent players
around KG (Sam Cassell and Latrell Sprewell), KG finished with one of his best seasons as a
pro, won the MVP and led the Timberwolves to the Western Conference finals. Without KG, the
Timberwolves would be one of the worst teams in the NBA. With him, he gives them a chance to
win on any given night."
Brian Murphy of Appleton, Wis.: "Very tough call, but the clincher for
Nowitzki is the fact that KG is not clutch. KG doesn't step up and hit big shots at the end
of tight games. That's his one and only real weakness, but it's big enough that Dirk wins
Nick Greenwood of Hong Kong: "It's gotta be KG. The head coach in Jack
McCallum's column says Dirk is more likely to beat you in the clutch. Well, if you give KG a
decent lineup, he won't have to beat you in the clutch; the game will have already been won.
And, oh yeah, how many All-Defensive first teams has Dirk made?"
Jeff Sampson of Minnetonka, Minn.: "As much as it pains me to admit it,
Dirk is the man. Garnett and the Timberwolves have won a grand total of TWO playoff series
since he was drafted in 1995. Greatness is measured in wins vs. losses. Nowitzki and the
Mavericks won more series in the 2006 playoffs than KG and the Wolves have won in Garnett's
entire career. The truth hurts for all of us in Minny."
Joey of Tyler, Texas: "Garnett definitely has the edge on Dirk on the
defensive side of the ball. I think in deciding between the two, it comes down to how easy
it is to 'fill in' the holes in their games with other players. KG is a defensive force, yet
you can't count on him to make that crucial basket in the clutch, or to have the ability to
offensively dominate any team. Finding teammates for KG who can consistently do that is
virtually impossible. Dirk, on the other hand, is not a shut-down defender, and can't be
counted on to guard an opposing team's big-time scorer. This role is much easier to fill,
and the Mavericks seem to have accomplished it with players like Josh Howard, Devin Harris, and Erick Dampier/DeSagana Diop. For that reason, I take Dirk."
Tom of Los Angeles.: "One thing people tend to forget about KG is his uncanny ability to find the open man. He's almost on Chris Webber's level in that department, and, in my opinion, his passing ability combined with his defense far outweigh Dirk's shooting ability. I think Mr. McCallum is under the spell of the Mavericks' season. Even last year, there was no question that KG was the better player. Imagine Dirk on the Timberwolves. They would give up 110 points per game and Dirk wouldn't have Josh Howard and Jason Terry to take double teams off him. And in a seven-game playoff series, I'll take KG's Mavs over Dirk's Mavs any day."
Brandon of Brooklyn, N.Y.: "We all know Dirk is surrounded by much better
talent and doesn't have to do as much as KG. Put Dirk in KG's position and we would not be
having this discussion. To be truly great, you have to be a player on both ends of the
Tim Hinchliff of Bloomington, Minn.: "It's a difficult choice, but I really
wonder, Jack, if the Wolves had more wins under their belt right now, would your choice be
Dan of Shreveport, La.: "I think it would be more fair to call KG the
'Super Pippen' than to compare him to clutch players like Dirk or Duncan."
Houlini of Houston: "Great column, great argument. My choice would depend
on what players I already have on my team. I'd take Dirk for offense, Garnett for defense.
If I had to choose the first player on a new team, I'd go with Dirk. His ability to develop
every year is impressive."
James Baker of Columbus, Ohio: "I tend to cast my lot with KG. In the end
Dirk may beat you, but if you put them on equal teams, with an equal supporting cast, you're
going to get more wins from the KG-led team. KG is just a better all-around player. His
skill set is amazing. Like you said, I would take Duncan over both, but with these two it's
KG for me."
Bruce of Orange County, Calif.: "This is a great argument, but when I
compare players, I always do it like this: I imagine Dirk on the Wolves and KG playing for
the Mavs. I honestly think that if KG played for the Mavs, the team wouldn't have this good
of a record. If Dirk played for the Wolves, I really think they would have a better record
than they do now. Don't get me wrong, KG is great! But I think Dirk's versatility is just a
tad better than KG's. Think about Dirk for a second ... he's not only a 7-footer, but he's a
7-footer who can drain the 3! Dirk causes more matchup problems. Do you know anyone in the
league who can guard a 7-footer who can drain it behind the arc, take it to the hoop or spot
up for a jumper? There's no one."
Steve Hoffman of Vermillion, S.D.: "Garnett all the way. He gives the
Wolves a Game 7 intensity in every regular-season game. He never misses a game and rebounds
way better than Dirk does. Yes, Dirk may score a few more points and does have a deadly
touch, but Garnett does more for his team nightly than Dirk does in two games."
Peyman of Toronto: "This is by far the closest of these comparisons.
Statistically, Garnett is by far the superior player. Defensively, Garnett is by far the
superior player. As far as winning games, well, obviously Dirk has had more success.
However, you take out Dirk and put in Garnett, would the Mavs be any worse off? And who is
better at improving the players around them? Used to be Garnett ... now I don't know
anymore. Still, I give KG the nod, but a VERY slight one at that, and I think team needs
would dictate for what's needed in the end between these two as they are too close to
Chris Dobbs of Chico, Calif.: "Game tied ... three seconds left ... give me
Dirk every time with a fadeaway jumper. That's the difference between the