Surprised? Don't be.
Kevin Love, who will be teaming up with LeBron James, Kyrie Irving and the rest of the Cleveland Cavaliers during the 2014-15 season, has always been a massive statistical anomaly. There's nothing as interesting in his backstory as that contained in the tales of Antetokounmpo or Davis, but he plays a completely unique brand of basketball.
How many big man have there been in NBA history who have managed to average 12 rebounds per game and made at least one triple during the average contest, as Love has done in each of his past four seasons?
That's not a rhetorical question. Go ahead and take a guess.
If you had two in your head, you're correct. Love has done so four times, and Charles Barkley managed the feat in 1996-97, though he did so over the course of 53 games and shot a putrid 28.3 percent from beyond the arc.
Love had an even worse percentage in 2012-13, but that was due primarily to the injuries he suffered during his shortened season. During his other three qualified seasons, he connected at rates of 37.2 percent (2011-12), 37.6 percent (2013-14) and 41.7 percent (2010-11), all while making at least as many three-pointers per game as Chuck did.
There's simply never been a dominant rebounder this good at shooting, and Love's uniqueness is only increased by his incredible passing skills, which include dominance while serving as a hub in the half-court set and his transcendently good work as an outlet passer.
As Zach Harper wrote for CBS Sports, "Six years later, Love is still a novelty. We've never seen a player like him before and most of us still aren't quite sure what we're even seeing."
This past season, Love averaged 26.1 points, 12.5 rebounds (which was actually his lowest mark in the past four seasons) and 4.4 assists per game. Kareem Abdul-Jabbar (four times), Elgin Baylor (three times) and Wilt Chamberlain (twice) are the only players to ever match or exceed those numbers, per Basketball-Reference.com.
The three-point arc didn't exist when they recorded those numbers, but none of those players were renowned perimeter specialists. Love is literally the first to make a three-pointer while putting up those figures, and his total of 190 would've blown Kareem (dependent on the sky-hook), Wilt (underrated shooter who didn't need to step outside) and Baylor (famous for the hanging jump shot, but never displaying this type of range) out of the water even if the arc did exist.
In fact, let's look at this one more way.
There have been 112 individual seasons in which a player has averaged 12 rebounds per game or more. If those seasons are sorted by three-pointers made, Love has the top three entries—190, 105 and 88. Chuck is next, with 67 and 58. No one else has topped 50.
If you summed the three-pointers of No. 6 through No. 12 on that list, they still wouldn't combine for as many threes as Love single-handedly made this past season.
So many players in the NBA are unique. None are this unique.
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