If you are one to say that you're proud to be a Timberwolves fan in the midst of a horrific season, it has to be because the Timberwolves have shown some promise. Whether it's in the close games to the San Antonio Spurs, or whether it's the Michael Beasley promise, or the 30-plus double doubles by Kevin Love, the Timberwolves actually have a future (not to say that it's completely bright, but it's a start).
The Minnesota Timberwolves currently have one of the best young power forwards in the game. His name is Kevin Love.
He is the best rebounder in the NBA by far, has a top-tier PER and efficiency, and is uniquely one of the most skilled players to ever play the game—someone who can shoot 90 percent from the free-throw line, shoot three-point shots over 40 percent, grab 15 rebounds a game and score 20 points off of putbacks and open looks. The Wolves have an elite guy.
The question is, what kind of elite guy?
For years, many Wolves fans and the like have written that Kevin Love is a role player—an elite role player, quite possibly one of the best to play the game. You can argue that guys who are one-dimensional or two-dimensional, like Dennis Rodman or Ben Wallace, were ample starters and contributors to elite teams in the NBA's past.
Kevin Love has more skills than those players, but the fact of the matter is, he is nothing more than an all-star caliber player.
Yes that's great, but a perennial all-star, a first-team All-NBA player, a MVP candidate is not in Kevin Love's DNA. Looking at Kevin Love's stats—21 PPG, 15 RPG—these would be MVP numbers on a winning team. But I will go on a limb and say that if Kevin Love were to average this on the Oklahoma City Thunder, Durant or Westbrook would win the award hands down. Here's why:
1. Lack of shot creation/defense: First, it's not likely for bigs in the NBA to win MVP awards. Dirk Nowitzki, Tim Duncan and Kevin Garnett have won the award in the last 10 years. Shaq, David Robinson, Karl Malone, Hakeem Olujawon have also won the award in the last 20 years.
Would you put Kevin Love in the same category? All of these players have some quality that can help carry a team, whether it's creating shots or on the defensive end. Two things that Love struggles with the most.
2. Lack of athleticism: While I would prefer a guy to know how to play the game more than anything, when it comes to offense, let's just say I'd much rather watch Blake Griffin score 30 than Kevin Love.
Basketball has become a game that has gotten better over the years due to the dedication of players and the talent level has risen, and Kevin Love is the key example of that. But when it comes to getting guys who could become future all-stars, putting guys on Sportscenter, upside and athleticism win the battle.
Just say if the Clippers had only won 10 games to this day in the current season, which team would the media say had a brighter future, the Timberwolves or the Clippers (assuming they weren't so happy go bad lucky)? I rest my case.
We can love Kevin Love for all of his greatness; his skill set is possibly among the best to have ever played the game. But with that, it's not the right skill set to carry a team. To say he couldn't be the third or fourth best player on a championship caliber team would be a horrific statement.
He's an elite rebounder, of course. Still, at times, he takes rebounds from his teammates and sacrifices defense to run to the paint to box out his man. To get a rebound requires defense; I wonder if Kevin has gotten that memo.
Kevin Love is going to become a free agent in two years, but dare I say he is not worth a max contract. To say that he is, you put him in the same category as LeBron James.
As a Wolves fan, I'm 100 percent with him remaining in a Timberwolves jersey as long as the price isn't too severe. But if he starts talking max deals, send him to Oklahoma City for James Harden, Jeff Green and a first round pick.
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