Top 50 NBA Players: #14 Kevin Love

Kevin Love
Resume: 18.3 points, 14.0 rebounds, 2.3 assists, 34.3 minutes, 35% FG, and 70% FT… Team record in games played: 9-9 (22-42 without)

Six reasons why I love Kevin Love:

1: I’ve engaged in several hundred hours of pick-up basketball in my three and a half years at Florida Gulf Coast University and the player I most frequently get compared to is Kevin Love. I don’t know how well thought out that comparison is since I played point guard in high school and usually do the same here, but apparently if you’re a little bulky, have a beard, grab a lot of rebounds and knock down some outside shots that makes you Kevin Love in the pick-up basketball world. No, this doesn’t have a single thing to do with Kevin Love’s place on this list, but when you get compared to Kevin Love you can’t neglect to mention it.

Dec 7, 2012; Minneapolis, MN, USA; Minnesota Timberwolves power forward Kevin Love (42) dunks the ball in the first half against the Cleveland Cavaliers at Target Center. Mandatory Credit: Jesse Johnson-USA TODAY Sports

2: Going forward with that previous point, I’m not a mind-blowing athlete and in the big picture of the NBA neither is Kevin Love. Oddly enough, it doesn’t really hurt his game all that much. Love is an old school throwback mixed with some new school flavor; he always bangs bodies in the paint, boxes out his man, gets great position under the basket, grabs a ton of rebounds, throws picture perfect outlet passes, and sets solid screens like he hopped out of a time machine, while also stretching defenses and drilling three’s like he’s a sharpshooting two guard. It’s hard to tell whether he’s an evolutionary Wes Unseld, whom he was given his middle name after, or dare I say he’s the modern day Larry Bird—Before you yell at me in the comments, I’m not the first one to say this; when Love was going nuts during the 2011-12 season George Karl was the one who compared the two.

3: In a very wise attempt to build on the wild popularity of Kyrie Irving’s Uncle Drew character, Pepsi ran it back for a second commercial co-starring Kevin Love as Uncle Drew’s old friend Wes. Again, this obviously has nothing directly to do with Love’s on court production, but in a roundabout way it does. He has a distinguishable flair and charisma on the court that star players typically have, and it carries over into the commercial. In other words, you’ll never see Joe Johnson in a commercial like this.

4: Love plays alongside Nikola Pekovic in the Timberwolves frontcourt and you know damn well Pekovic isn’t giving any love to anyone, including Kevin Love.

5: Love is the undisputed king of the ridiculous points and rebounds box score, and makes the ESPN bottomline at least ten times more entertaining when you are getting the updates on Timberwolves games every five minutes or so. In 146 games since the beginning of the 2010-11 season, Love has had fifteen games with at least 20 points and 20 rebounds, sixteen games with at least 30 points, 15 rebounds, a 51 point and 14 rebound gem in the most entertaining regular season game I can remember, and one unthinkable 31 point, 31 rebound game that seemed impossible unless they were playing a 60 minute game. Holy moly!

6: Because of an incompetent President of Basketball Operations, more than a fair share of lousy teammates, a small market fan base, and some injury problems that limited him to eighteen games last year—why the hell was he doing knuckle push-ups in the first place is beyond me—Love may now be a little underrated in the basketball world. Remember, he is just a season removed from being a 2nd Team All-NBA performer and legitimate MVP candidate. Why shouldn’t Love come into this season with a huge chip on his shoulder? I predict Love comes back in even better shape, totally committed to the Timberwolves and ready to deliver more than a few impressive stat lines.