NBA general managers really need to think again about what "limited natural ability" means.
Apparently, to them it means being ridiculously strong and in possession of a nice touch from the outside.
CBS' Chris Towers and TNT's Steve Kerr definitely agree with me:
There's absolutely nothing "limited" about Kevin Love's "natural ability." Had better combine numbers than Anthony Randolph, for instance.— Chris Towers (@CTowersCBS) October 22, 2013
“@kevinlove: GM survey: Love is player who makes most of 'limited natural ability.'” Other than being 6-10, insanely strong w/velvet touch?— Steve Kerr (@SteveKerrTNT) October 22, 2013
And yet, it was Kevin Love who NBA GMs named the player who makes the most of that "limited natural ability."
Fortunately, Love has suggested a new name for the distinction:
So, let's take a look at the past winners. Have they all fallen in line with Love's "white guy" claim?
- 2013: Kevin Love (check)
- 2012: Kevin Love (check)
- 2011: Kevin Love (check)
- 2010: Luis Scola (check)
- 2009: Mehmet Okur (check)
- 2008: Bruce Bowen
- 2007: Steve Nash (check)
- 2006: Steve Nash (check)
- 2005: Brad Miller (check)
- 2004: Brian Cardinal (check)
The survey goes back an additional two years, but the results have unfortunately disappeared from the archives. That leaves us with nine "white guy" winners in 10 years, and Love is batting a sensational 0.900 here.
In fact, we might as well name it the Kevin Love Award given recent history, even though it's still ridiculous that he's winning the award. Giving this to Love is akin to Jimi Hendrix getting the trophy for maximizing the least natural guitar talent because he was a lefty.
Just because the talent comes in a package that the voters aren't accustomed to doesn't mean that it isn't talent.
How about someone like Larry Sanders?
You know who gets a lot out of limited natural ability? Larry Sanders. He can't jump or hit a shot.— Ethan Strauss (@SherwoodStrauss) October 22, 2013
What about Zach Randolph or Andre Miller?
There are far better choices out there than Love, who has even appeared on ESPN's Sports Science to demonstrate his remarkable lower-body strength.
Should Kevin Love have won this vote?
I assume that Love's tweet was filled with more than a little bit of bitterness and sarcasm. He should feel the same way that anyone who wins a "most improved" award does: "Thanks, but isn't this just a major backhanded compliment? Are you saying I sucked before?"
In the future, maybe players who tested well at the draft combine should be excluded. After all, Love's no-step vert of 29.5 inches—per DraftExpress—is above the power forward average of 28.6. He also beat the max vert average by two inches and put up five extra reps on the bench press.
So much for having a limited amount of natural ability.