Keys to the Wolf Den: Kevin Love's Benching Is Probably Long Term

Timber WolfAnalyst IIFebruary 1, 2010

NEW ORLEANS - FEBRUARY 16:  Basketball player Ryan Hollins attends 2008 National Basketball Players Association Gala at Ernest N. Morial Convention Center on February 16, 2008 in New Orleans Louisiana.  (Photo by Bryan Bedder/Getty Images)
Bryan Bedder/Getty Images

In the last two games the Wolves have defeated their opponents and there have been some changes that would shock some fans.

Kevin Love, the Wolves' leading rebounder, has taken a seat on the bench. Although he has been getting relatively the same amount of minutes, Kevin Love has posted 13 points and 13 rebounds, and 25 points and 11 rebounds in his last two games.

Is this a winning formula?

The Timberwolves have begun to start center Ryan Hollins, a legit seven-footer who already has posterizing dunks over Andeson Varejao, Tim Duncan, and Antawn Jamison. An incredibly raw player, Hollins has been bringing a new found energy to the starting unit, scoring in double figures and blocking four shots in his last two games.

Mind you, many NBA analysts have questioned if Kevin Love and Al Jefferson can play together, being that they are both undersized. David Kahn, as well as fans, have stated that in order for them to coexist, they would need an explosive leaper and shot blocking presence in a seven-footer to help balance them out.

In their last game, Ryan Hollins played 30 minutes, Al Jefferson played 30 minutes, and Kevin Love played 32 minutes, with Ryan Gomes occupying some minutes at power forward.

Understand that Hollins is not a long-term answer, at least right now anyways, but the combination of Kevin Love coming off the bench was bound to happen. Hollins does have the length and the size to compliment Al Jefferson and Kevin Love very well.

When Al Jefferson and Kevin Love can post 22 points, 11 rebounds and 25 points, 11 rebounds respectively, there's still a need for a guy that gets you 16 points, three rebounds (offensive), and three blocks, right?

So when I say that Love's benching is probably long-term, it's because it is.

With all respect to Ryan Hollins, he helps the starting unit play much better.

He brings so much energy to the court, he's always moving, and he runs the floor incredibly well. He helps Jonny Flynn on assists for alley-ooping and is a big guy that actually rolls off of his picks. He helps contest shots and change them, he takes charges, and, although he looks a bit out of place at times, he's been effective as of late.

Hollins is not a better player than Love, but the fact of the matter is that he was going to be benched and was still going to get his minutes when the Wolves acquired a big seven-footer worthy of playing some time.

It helps the bench play extremely well seeing as they scored over 50 points and grabbed 30 rebounds against the Knicks, mainly thanks to Kevin Love.

It gives the Wolves a lineup of Ramon Sessions, Wayne Ellington, Damien Wilkins, and Kevin Love off the bench. Kurt Rambis, the Timberwolves' head coach, may have found a solution as he's now shortened his rotations, and it appears that there's only nine players that will be playing majority minutes.

Thanks for reading!