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Kevin Love Is Reminding The NBA That He Is Elite

Kevin Love Is Reminding The NBA That He Is Elite

Nov 16, 2013

Kevin Love spent the majority of last season on injured reserve and before that he spent most of his time on a small market NBA team in the Minnesota Timberwolves and on some pretty weak teams. In 2013-14, it looks like Love’s health and quality of his team might just be enough to bring him into the headlines a little more. Throw in an uncertain future and possible impending trade/free agent status and suddenly the 25-year old is getting the sort of attention that he clearly deserves.

In 2011-12 Love played 55 games averaging 26.0 points and 13.3 rebounds per game. His team failed to reach the playoffs, but he was quite clearly worthy of being a serious MVP candidate. He is worthy of that same consideration once again early in the 2013-14 season.

The Timberwolves are 6-3 with wins over the Dallas Mavericks, New York Knicks and Oklahoma City Thunder. Love is playing elite level basketball scoring 27.1 points, picking up 14.2 rebounds and also 5.1 assists per game. He has the ability to compete on the inside, but he is also a power forward who can shoot three-point shots. He takes pretty good shots and is also efficient from the free throw line.

When the NBA’s star players are discussed Love very rarely comes up, but he probably should. He brings a versatility and flat out scoring ability that few power forwards in the game can offer. There are few teams that can stop Love.

He now has a pretty decent supporting cast to work with in Minnesota and it is paying off pretty well. Nikola Pekovic, Corey Brewer, Ricky Rubio and Kevin Martin form a pretty strong starting line-up. Brewer and Martin in particular add solid scoring support simultaneously feeding off of and opening up space for Love, which hasn’t existed before. Love’s return has clearly made this Timberwolves roster feel like it is a serious playoff contender and it is now looking and playing like one.

Love’s future in Minnesota isn’t guaranteed. Despite the team’s improved on court performance, this is still a line-up that looks like a first round playoff exit waiting to happen. The team’s star player actively criticized the organization’s unpopular front office group and with a contract expiring in the summer of 2015, the expectation is generally that Love could be destined for free agency at that point.

Disenchantment between a franchise and its star player is always a difficult thing to grapple with. Winning can heal feelings on both sides, but will a 27-year old Love really not fancy plying his services with the Los Angeles Lakers or some other big market franchise with legitimate NBA championship contender status after the next couple of years.

For now Love and this team can only enjoy Minnesota’s early season success. The Timberwolves are a tough match-up right now for just about any team in the NBA. That’s something that hasn’t been said for quite some time.


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