Derrick Favors Says Kevin Love 'Just Like Any Other Stretch 4 in the League'
Though most outside of David Kahn's inner circle wouldn't think twice about openly deeming Love an elite stretch 4, Favors isn't one of those them.
Prior to the Jazz's recent throttling of the Minnesota Timberwolves, Favors was asked both about his mother and defending Love. Almost needless to say, he was much kinder to his mother, claiming there wasn't anything special about Mr. Love:
He's just like any other stretch 4 in the league. He can space out, hit the three or he can go inside, so it's going to be a challenge, but he's just like any other stretch 4. Probably a better rebounder. But pretty much just like any other stretch 4.
Come on, Derrick, don't hold back. Tell us how you really feel.
Much is continuously made of Love's status as a superstar. Again, most are sold, but some, including Favors, aren't. Must we disagree?
To put it simply, no.
Favors is spot-on in his depiction of Love. He's spaces the floor but can also go at you inside.
Do you know who else can do that?
Any other stretch 4 in the league. Some, like Ryan Anderson, can arguably do it better than Love.
Minnesota's wunderkind is currently attempting five treys per game, tying a career high. But he's connecting on just 21.4 percent of those.
Though we must factor in that Love continues to fight a losing battle with his hands—fingers and all—while also acknowledging that he connected on 37.2 percent of his threes last season, does this dictate we be impressed?
Absolutely not. Not when Anderson is hoisting up a league-high 7.9 deep balls per game and converting on 40.3 percent of them. So no, Love isn't exactly an exclusive talent there.
Except that he can rebound. We must give him that. Love finished third in rebounds per 36 minutes last season, but does that make him more difficult to defend?
Probably not as much as you'd think.
Bear in mind, Love grabbed an impressive 3.8 offensive boards per 36 minutes last season, finishing in a three-way tie for the 14th-best mark.
Do you know who had a higher per-36 minute offensive rebounding rate?
Anderson, who snatched 4.1. Even Ersan Ilyasova grabbed more offensive boards per 36 minutes than him with 4.3.
Is this an attempt to downplay the abilities of Love?
Not at all. He's a versatile scorer who can, like Favors admitted, rebound. But let's not pretend that this makes him any more difficult of a stretch 4 to guard. Stretch forwards are tough to defend in general, especially for traditional power forwards who aren't used to stepping out on the perimeter.
But that applies to all stretch 4's, not just Love. If anything, with the way he's shooting the three-ball this season, he's easier to defend because his attempts keep caroming off the rim.
In fact, of all forwards who attempt at least one three-pointer a night, Love's 21.4 percent clip leaves him with the 68th-highest conversion rate.
Was Derrick Favors right about Kevin Love?
Perhaps, but it's not the end of the world. Once his hand and finger heal, he should be able to regain his shooting touch.
The same shooting touch that a deluge of other stretch forwards share. The same shooting touch that Favors alluded to and subsequently shrugged off. And the same shooting touch that renders Kevin Love less than unique.
*All stats in this article are accurate as of Jan. 3, 2012.
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