There is no question Kevin Love is a statistical monster. In just four NBA seasons, Love has broken both team and league records, including most consecutive double-doubles (53), and joined a list of just 19 players to have a 30-30 game. He has won a rebounding title (2011), a three-point shootout (2012) and is a 2x All-Star (2011-2012). Basically, Kevin Love is the definition of versatility — just at an extremely high level.
With Love alone, one would think a team could be carried to victory. False. Despite his incredible numbers, the Minnesota Timberwolves have struggled to win. In his four seasons, the T-Wolves have yet to win more than 30 games and their highest winning percentage was .394 in 2012. The team gave fans a glimpse of hope after Spanish sensation Ricky Rubio joined the team and helped them to a 17-17 record at the All-Star break. Shortly after, however, Rubio tore his ACL and the team once again struggled.
Sure he is a huge help for the team, but does he have the superstar quality that can will his team to victory?
The way his team struggles just to stay competitive raises a question about Love. Sure he is a huge help for the team, but does he have the superstar quality that can will his team to victory? His 26 points and 13 rebounds per game last season suggests he does, but the team's failure proves otherwise.
Think of how LeBron James joined the 17-65 Cavaliers and completely turned them around. Like Love, James immediately put up monster numbers and was the team's go-to man. From 2003-2010, the Cavs enjoyed success and consistently made runs in the playoffs. It was clear James was carrying the team. From playoff triple-doubles to 40+ point games, he exhibited pure superstar ability. After James left for Miami the team went 19-63, illustrating that James was clearly the only reason for Cleveland's success.
Now let me make one thing clear. I'm not saying Kevin Love should be expected to have the same impact on a team as LeBron James. As painful as it is to admit, James is the best player the league has seen in years. With every game he plays, the MVP gives doubters fewer ways to critique his ability. He has accomplished just about everything possible for his age, and shows no signs of slowing down. Few posses this type of talent; the talent to single-handedly win games, talent to carry a team through the playoffs, and talent to play nearly every position on the floor. It's just something the NBA rarely sees.
Love, on the other hand, is just a normal All-Star. He can put up numbers, is extremely versatile, but if completely relied on, will not win games by himself. In a recent interview, Love claimed, "If I don't make the playoffs next year, I don't know what will happen." Although some have called him selfish and are angry with his comment, the Timberwolves need to listen.
Love has expressed interest remaining in Minnesota long-term, but the team must first find him some help. Yes, Ricky Rubio was playing well and has potential to develop into a great point guard, but success in the NBA demands more. A near .500 record does not guarantee playoffs, and two producers can no longer push a team through the playoffs. This era is dominated by "big three" teams. When certain groups of All-Stars come together it is hard for them to work as a team, but Kevin Love would work extremely well with another big name. Because of his versatility, Love is an outstanding complementary player and could thrive in any offense.
Although they can't bring in a name this summer, next year's free agency is stacked. Highlighted by names such as Chris Paul, Andrew Bynum, and Josh Smith, next offseason is when Minnesota must capitalize. Building a big three around Love and Rubio, who are both young, could be successful for years to come. For now, Minnesota needs to stay away from long-term contracts and hope Love and Rubio can bring their team to the playoffs or at least do well enough for Love to stay. If they make the right moves and capitalize next summer, they can finally find the success they have been missing since the Garnett era.
Fan Hub Action
Jeanne-Marie Jansen Lowell May 23rd
Greatest relief pitcher EVER! Someday we can all tell our grandchildren we got to see him pitch. A true legend!
Charlie Lobosco May 23rd
Ask Craig; I’ll say it again; not the best relief pitcher ever; the best MLB player ever. Yes, that includes everyone.
Jim Lowell May 23rd
Great tribute to a great player, a great Yankee, and a great man.Thank you!
Frank Lowell May 23rd
Great job, Ryan! As a life-long Yankee hater since the 1950’s in the closing days of the Brooklyn Dodgers, I can only sit back and…
Tiffany Riddle May 23rd
Love the article, and I completely agree!
Michael T Carr May 16th
Another good article, Craig Lowell.
Charlie Lobosco May 1st
This is a very compelling story because Mr. Collins is a very passionate, tough, intelligent, athelete taking on some additional responsibliity to help others as…
Scott Cohen May 1st
Charlie.. very well said.. he does have guts
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