Minnesota coach Kurt Rambis has said before Wednesday's game that it's hard to argue that Wolves forward Kevin Love should not be on this year's All-Star team.
Love is averaging a team-leading 21.4 points and league-leading 15.6 rebounds. But after the Thunder game, the Wolves were just 10-35. And it's that record, as well as a long-standing, widely-held belief that players from losing teams shouldn't be All-Stars, that has sparked an NBA -wide debate about Love and clouded his candidacy with uncertainty.
“He's doing a great job in all areas. He's improved his game,” Rambis said. “The numbers that he's putting up offensively and defensively, it's a rare combination for somebody to put up those kind of numbers. You'd like to see people rewarded for their efforts.”
Rambis said the won-loss argument can go both ways.
“There's lot of All-Stars out there that have All-Star years and a lot of it is attributable to the talent around them,” Rambis said. “So sometimes you can look at it that way as well. If that particular player didn't have other good players around him, he wouldn't be putting up the kind of numbers he's putting up, either.”
CHEERING FOR COLLISON
Wolves guard Luke Ridnour and Thunder forward Nick Collison remain good friends from their days with the Seattle SuperSonics. They were teammates for five seasons before Ridnour was traded to Milwaukee following the 2007-08 season.
But Ridnour said he can see how Collison is now in his eighth season with the same franchise that drafted him.
“Nick is one of the most solid guys in this league,” Ridnour said. “He plays his role and knows what he can and cannot do. He's a good defender. And he's a great guy to play with. He sets great screens, and I could see why they want to keep a guy like that around.”
Ridnour said he was happy Collison recently received a four-year contract extension. But Ridnour could only laugh at how the structure of the extension bumped blue-collar Collison up to more than $13 million this season.
“That's just a reward for how hard he's worked and battled through some injuries and being around when the team changed places,” Ridnour said. “Just to see him keep going after going through some tough years of not winning a lot of games and keep hanging around, that's a credit to him and what he stood for.”
SEEING IS BELIEVING
Before Wednesday's overtime thriller, Ridnour raved about Russell Westbrook.
When asked one thing that he sees from Westbrook on the court that the fans might not truly appreciate, Ridnour said it's Westbrook's explosiveness.
“His explosion is the quickest in the league. There's no question about it,” Ridnour said. “How quick he can get from Point A to Point B at the rim, I think he's the best in the league at it. On a pick-and-roll, you think you've got a step where you can cut him off but then he just changing speeds.”