In his third season in the NBA, Minnesota Timberwolves power forward Kevin Love is not messing around. His first two seasons were decent, averaging 11.1 points and 9.1 rebounds per game during his rookie campaign and 14 points and 11 rebounds per game in his second season.
With 26 games under his belt so far in his third year, Love is averaging 20.3 points and 15.6 rebounds per game. Yes, 15.6 rebounds per game. He is by far the leading rebounder in the NBA, averaging 3.5 more rebounds per game than the next highest, 12.1, shared by four players.
Love didn’t even put up these numbers in his only year in college at UCLA, where he averaged 17.5 points and 10.6 rebounds in 39 games. His size, skill and smarts have made Love one of the best power forwards in the NBA.
You could say the only power forward who has performed better than Love this season is the New York Knicks’ Amar’e Stoudemire. The only player, not just power forward, ahead of Love in ESPN fantasy basketball scoring is the Los Angeles' Lakers Pau Gasol.
On November 12th, Love did something that had not been done in 28 years. He managed to score 31 points and grab 31 rebounds in one game for the first time since Moses Malone managed 38 points and 32 rebounds in 1982.
The 31 rebounds were a franchise record. Love's fan base grew substantially that night and the eyes of fans and basketball people across the world have been stuck on him ever since.
A few years ago, another Timberwolves power forward, Michael Beasley, was expected to take the league by storm, but those expectations never came to fruition. Instead it’s his teammate turning heads and keeping statisticians busy. This is not to say that Beasley has been a disappointment. He's averaging 21 points and six rebounds a game this season. It could be argued that Love and Beasley make one of the best forward tandems in the league.
Love, however, is the one who should be heading to his first All Star Game this season, but it doesn't look like that will be the case with the first voting results released. Love isn't even in the top six in voting for Western Conference forwards—an utter travesty.
Granted, the Western Conference is stacked with talented and well-deserving forwards, whose teams are much better than the lowly Timberwolves, but Love has shown that he deserves to be a first-time All Star.
This just goes to show, again, that All Star voting is a popularity contest. If he had any kind of talented supporting cast, besides Beasley, Love would definitely be getting more positive attention and credit for what he has done so far this season. The Minnesota Timberwolves are not a good team by any means, one of the worst in the NBA in fact at 6-20, but they have something to be proud of in their third year forward.