Will Minneapolis (Al Jefferson) and St. Paul (Kevin Love) Be Seperated?

Timber WolfAnalyst IIMay 11, 2010

This has to come to the light eventually.

The Wolves have more talent than their 15-win season would suggest, it just happens to be that half of it is in their two power forwards that cannot play together. Due to a lack of size and athleticism, Kevin Love and Al Jefferson are a complete liability on the defensive end. But due to their smarts, their arguably the smartest frontcourt duo in the league.

Elites in their own rights. Kevin Love, an elite rebounder compared to anybody in NBA history, and Al Jefferson, an elite low-post scorer who constantly schools 7-footers on how to really score on the low block.

Both 6'10'', and playing in the Western conference, having to face the height of Gasol and Bynum, or the versatility of Haywood and Nowitzki, among others, usually has Kevin Love and Al Jefferson out of place.

Ever since Kevin Love was drafted, there have been questions as to who would be flipped.

There are some that suggest that Love, a younger and better rebounder, who's costing the fraction of the cost that Jefferson is, would be retained. There are some that suggest that Al Jefferson, who's a much better scorer and has been the Timberwolves best player for the last three years, would be traded for it will open up things such as free agency, draft picks, and wouldn't hinder the development of Kevin Love.

Let's compare the two:

Al Jefferson: 17.1 PPG, 9.3 RPG, 1.3 BPG in 32 MPG

Kevin Love: 14 PPG, 11 RPG, 0.4 BPG in 29 MPG

Let's compare them with their stats adjusted to 36 MPG

Al Jefferson: 19.2 PPG, 10.4 RPG, 1.5 BPG in 36 MPG

Kevin Love: 17.3 PPG, 13.6 RPG, 0.6 BPG in 36 MPG

In perspective, if your playing your frontcourt both for 36 minutes, and they only produce two blocks on average, your destined to get scored on in the paint. Why this duo rebounds so well? They are elite rebounders, if you consider the fact that the Wolves were the worst defensive team, you can't rebound taking the ball out the goal.

Outside the stat sheet

Al Jefferson

Has some of the best footwork the NBA has to offer, mid range jumpers, a variety of floaters, drop steps, jump hooks. A high level producer in the paint. Great timing, good speed and power to play in the post.

An elite rebounder.

Considering his style of play, shoots a very good percentage from the field.

Has regressed from previous season's due to a Torn ACL, is injury prone.

Defensive awareness needs work, although he has great defensive tools.

Half court specialist, has no type of fast paced game.

Has matured significantly over the years, but has gotton used to losing (bad thing).

Still hasn't hit prime yet, and still has a high ceiling.

Incredible basketball I.Q on the offensive end.

Even though he plays in the paint, and pump fakes opponents in the air, he does not draw contact (bad thing). Poor free throw shooter.

Kevin Love

Arguably the best rebounder in the NBA.

Has very good range for a post player, has a great mid range jumper.

Has developing post moves, is a great passer from ANYWHERE on the court, and has unnatural instincts for a post player.

Has all the potential in the world, will go down in history as one of the leagues best rebounders.

Very slow on a fast break, very slow chasing down athletic power forwards. Has a lack of athleticism and speed/quickness. Wingspan is average, frame is average.

Incredibly high energetic player, racks up free throws in the paint and battling for offensive boards, knocks down his free throws, a clutch competitor and glue guy.

High basketball I.Q

Defensive awareness is present, but due to his lack of athleticism, or jumping ability, he blocks shots rarely.

A tad immature, used to being a franchise player, can't accept his role on the bench as well as a marquee bench player should (Jason Terry, Jamal Crawford, Anderson Varejao, Chris Anderson, etc.).

What can be assessed from this information? Well if there's anyone that has said that Kevin Love is better than Al Jefferson, they are sadly mistaken. While Kevin Love is an elite rebounder, his lack on the defensive end and athleticism hinders him more than it does for Al Jefferson.

Incredibly though, and I say this with some doubt in my voice, I think that Kevin Love is a starter in the NBA, probably an All-star in his prime, but coming off the bench is probably his best suit. When you look at all great teams, they have a three frontcourt duos that all compliment each other well.

With Al Jefferson being able to draw a double team, and pray to god he defends better, what people have been saying for two years is still true, he's our only legit NBA starter that has more potential. Two years ago, Al Jefferson was snubbed from the All-star game putting up 23 points, 11 rebounds, and 1.7 blocks a game. He's regressed due to injury, but there's little doubt in my mind that he won't return to form.

Kevin Love has a very high ceiling, but due to his lack of athleticism and the fact that he doesn't have that scorer's mentality unless he's away from the basket, which takes away his rebounding ability, Kevin Love just might be a bench player. No? Maybe or maybe not, time will tell.

The question still remains as to which will be traded? I prefer for neither of them to be traded, simply because I love both, but they both have to improve, that's without a doubt. Neither of them are close from a finished product at all. They do however need not one, but two 7-footers to play with them.

I'd say Darko Milicic deserves another year (for anyone that actually watched the games), and if Hassan Whiteside slips to No. 23, take him on as a long term project.

But that's just me, and it's becoming clearer by the day that more than likely Kevin Love will be traded. His contract is easier to move, he's young, has upside and probably wants to start anyhow. Looking back on it, I would have dealt Jefferson last season. Now that the season is over, it would have been unfair in the midst of a new coach, new players, and new offense that he just happened to have walked into with only one leg due to his injury.


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