Kevin Love will probably not win Rookie of the Year, but the quality of his game should not go unnoticed. Rose, Mayo, Beasley, Lopez, Gasol, Westbrook and Fernandez, to name a few of the standouts in this year's crop, are all worthy of praise. Kevin Love, however, should not be left out of the conversation.
Other rookies may be more flashy, have more highlights or have played more minutes, but if you haven't taken notice of Kevin, I think you will Love his game after a closer look.
I first heard about Kevin Love after talking to a random dude sitting next to me, on a five hour flight, about five years ago. Turns out he was related to Kevin, and he kept telling me this kid was going to be great.
So, a few years later when UCLA signed him, I made sure to watch closely.
I've seen a lot of great plays and highlights like any hoops junkie, but never had I been so impressed with Outlet Passing skill.
This may sound funny to some who didn't catch Love's act in college, but the kid would dominate the boards on defense, and like John Elway or Joe Montana, he'd throw the perfect deep pass that led to dunk after dunk. He's the kind of player that you have to watch the whole game, and admire his technique.
He does all the little things that coaches love.
Basketball IQ can be tough to quantify because it may not always show in the stat sheet, but Kevin plays the game the way it's supposed to be played.
He's tough, but not dirty. He's intense, but not out of control. He can shoot from the perimeter, but he also knows how to bang and use his size on the boards. He is not particularly fast or athletic, but he is coordinated and clever with the ball.
Love reminds me of a few other NBA big men. He's a combination of Wes Unseld, Kevin McHale, Bill Laimbeer, Brad Miller and Elton Brand. His size and strength is in between Unseld and Brand, his perimeter range is like Laimbeer, his passing is ike Miller, and he has clever pivot moves like McHale.
It was ridiculous that Love was not included in the Rookies vs Sophomore's game at All-Star Weekend, but there was a large group of deserving rookies.
Love leads all rookies with 22 double doubles, and since January, has averaged 13.2 points and 10.1 rebounds. I think Kevin McHale's draft day trade of Mayo for Love may not be popular, but in the long run it will payoff.
Kevin is a little under-sized to be playing center, but when Al Jefferson comes back and Love goes back to the four, I think they will be a strong combo for years to come.
I am not here to say Kevin Love is the greatest thing since sliced bread, or a future Hall of Famer for that matter, but I'm just saying the kid has GAME!
Show him some LOVE!