Minnesota Timberwolves: Kevin Love's Season Is Salvaged by Major Award

Joseph FafinskiCorrespondent IApril 21, 2011

WASHINGTON, DC - MARCH 05:  Kevin Love #42 of the Minnesota Timberwolves reacts after missing a shot against the Washington Wizards at the Verizon Center on March 5, 2011 in Washington, DC. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and/or using this Photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement.  (Photo by Rob Carr/Getty Images)
Rob Carr/Getty Images

According to ESPN.com and multiple other sources, Kevin Love will be announced the winner of the NBA's 2011 Most Improved Player award.

In doing so, Love bumped his scoring average from 14 flat to 20.2 and his rebounding clip from 11 on the dot to 15.2, both major improvements in their respective categories.

Additionally, the UCLA product improved in every other meaningful statistic outside steals per game, most notably in his three-point shooting, where he drained 41.5 percent of his attempts, a remarkable number for a 6'10" power forward.

The All-Star voting committee snubbed the 22-year-old, only to have David Stern select him as the final pick for the contest.

Players and coaches around the league have been eying Love and singing his praises, too.

"The year that he's had has been unbelievable," Bulls coach Tom Thibodeau told ESPN late in the regular season. "When you average 20 and 15 in this league, that says a lot. It says a lot about how he's improved from year to year. He's a guy that plays hard all the time and will continue to improve from year to year."

He posted a double-double in 53 consecutive games, breaking Moses Malone's record that stood for 28 long years. Once he officially broke it at the Target Center, the game stopped, and for the first time all year, Wolves fans felt like they had something to cheer for.

His selection was a bittersweet ending to an otherwise dismal season for the Minnesota Timberwolves, who finished in the Western Conference basement for the second season in a row with a 17-65 record.

It will be a different season next year for the T'Wolves, and if Love's Most Improved campaign is a sign of anything, it's that the boys up in the Land of 10,000 Lakes are heading in the right direction, a path they haven't seen since Kevin Garnett's departure.


Joseph Fafinski is currently a freshman at the University of Missouri. Originally from Chaska, Minnesota, Joseph is an NBA and Minnesota Timberwolves Featured Columnist and a frequent writer of the NBA, NFL and MLB. You can e-mail Joseph at jef3m8@mail.missouri.edu or on Twitter at    @JosephFafinski.