He’s averaged 23 points and 19 rebounds against the Thunder.
And going into tonight’s third meeting, Minnesota forward Kevin Love is only a shade under those averages on the season, with 21.4 points and a league-leading 15.6 rebounds against the entire league.
Yet there is a great debate about whether the third-year bruiser should be on this year’s All-Star team. Naysayers point to the Wolves’ 10-34 record, the second worst record in the NBA. Supporters choose to simply point to Love’s production.
It’s time for our panel to weigh in.
Should Love be an All-Star?
Show me some Love. Hard to argue with someone who leads the league in rebounds (15.6), offensive rebounds (4.9), defensive rebounds (10.7), consecutive double-doubles (30), season double-doubles (39 in 44 games) and also steps outside to shoot 43.5 percent from 3-point range (11th in the league). Yes, he plays on a lousy team (10-34) and lousy teams miss more shots, which leads to more available rebounds, blah, blah, blah. Keep in mind New Orleans, Chicago, New York and the Thunder don’t shoot it so hot, either, and they’ve got players starting in the All-Star Game. The last time the league’s leading rebounder was not selected as an All-Star was Ben Wallace nine years ago, but he was averaging 7.6 points. Four years before that, it was Dennis Rodman, who averaged 4.7 points. Love is averaging 21.4 points. Love has to be selected, plus he played at nearby UCLA.
Kevin Love isn’t a sexy selection to the All-Star Game. And no, that isn’t some sort of commentary on his looks. The guy isn’t a sexy selection because he’s not a high-flying, sky-walking, monster-dunking big man. Oh, he’s got ups, but he isn’t known for his flashiness. All he does is get the job done. And what a job he does. He not only leads the league in rebounding but also averages over 20 points a game. Those are All-Star numbers, and Love is an All-Star-worthy player. But because of the mostly workman way he goes about his job — and the fact that he plays for the lowly Timberwolves — he’s easy to overlook. Here’s hoping the coaches don’t forget him when it comes to their All-Star choices. He should be an All-Star even if he isn’t a highlight reel waiting to happen.
Put him in. And trust me, that says a lot coming from me. No, my vote doesn’t mean jack. But nobody loathes rewarding good players on bad teams more than me. But that’s how good Love’s been. Houston coach Rick Adelman said it best when recently asked about Love. Does his phenomenal numbers come from hard work, and does he do it every night? Yes and heck yes. My only reservation is the Wolves’ woeful record and the precedent coaches might set going forward if they find a way for Love to be on this year’s team. The definition of an All-Star is a player who not only is an incredible individual talent, but also one who leads his team. Love certainly has the credentials in the first category. But with the Wolves sporting a 2-21 road record, how much is Love really leading?