Kyle Terada-US PRESSWIRE
Minnesota Timberwolves' Kevin Love
Prediction: Kevin Love, Minnesota Timberwolves
Kevin Love was given an outside chance of winning the MVP award before this season began.
Then he broke his hand and missed the first nine games. He was instantly eliminated by the early-season oddsmakers as a result.
Since he's returned to the lineup, however, all Love has done is re-enter that race by jumping out of the gate like Usain Bolt.
In the five games he's played through Wednesday, Love has scored 115 points while collecting 78 rebounds. Those totals are good for averages of 23 points and 15.6 rebounds per night. He's also averaging 1.4 steals per game.
The 20 percent he's shooting from three-point range will only improve as the season goes on, as will his 69.6 percent mark from the free-throw line.
In Love's two previous seasons, he's shot 39 percent from three-point range to make 193 field goals from beyond the arc.
On his career he's connected on 82 percent of his free throws.
This past Tuesday, Love played without his protective glove on his shooting hand for the first time this season. His shooting percentages will only increase as his hand continues heal.
The 39 percent he's currently shooting from the field overall will creep back closer to the 45 percent number he's averaged for his career.
The 26 points and 13 rebounds Love averaged last season were not a fluke. Nor was the 20 and 15 he averaged the season before it.
Once Ricky Rubio returns, he'll be afforded more open looks than he's even getting now.
If Love stays healthy the rest of the way out, those nine games he missed will be forgotten by the time he's named 2012-13 NBA MVP.