Kevin Love is having the most dominant season in almost 30 years and no one knows about it. If he played in a bigger media market or on a better team would he be a household name? Or would he just be David Lee?
The first Timberwolves player since Kevin Garnett in 2007 to make the all star team, Love is as consistent as any player in the league as 38 consecutive double doubles would indicate. He’s so consistent, that even averaging 21.4 ppg and 15.6 reb per night is taken for granted. Love is only six games away from tying Moses Malone’s record of 44 which was established during the 1982-83 season, nearly 30 years ago. By itself it’s pretty amazing that an NBA record could stand that long considering the way the game has evolved. The fact that Love is approaching it speaks for itself as to the kind of season he is having, yet no one notices. Malone and Love’s seasons are running parallel to each other in more ways than one.
If Love can maintain his averages of 20+ points and 15+ rebounds per game for the rest of the season, he would be the first player since Malone in that same 1982-83 season to average at least 20 points and 15 rebounds for an entire season. When I read that stat, I refused to believe it. I looked at Shaq’s career numbers; nope. I looked at Charles Barkley’s MVP season; nope. Karl Malone? No. Olajuwon? No. Ewing? No. Go ahead, think of a dominant player in the last 30 years, Google him and look at the stats. Kevin Love is out producing him as well.
When Love had 31 points and 31 rebounds against the Knicks on November 12th, he became the first player to have a 30-30 game since Moses Malone did in 1982.
Universally, Malone is heralded as one of the most dominant players of not only his era, but of all time and is viewed as the ultimate blue collar player. So why can’t Kevin Love even get even a nod as being a hard worker in the midst of a season for the ages? Maybe it’s because people don’t know how to quantify him because he isn’t limited to rebounding and scoring inside. Did you know Kevin Love is ninth in the entire league in three point shooting, hitting 43.9 percent? And it’s not like he’s only shooting a three every couple games, he’s averaging 3+ attempts per game.
Love may even be having a better season than Malone’s when you factor in the three point ability, free throw percentage (87% vs. 76%) and assists per game (2.5 vs. 1.3)
Ultimately he’s productive and consistent, but he isn’t a guy with tremendous hops or athleticism, dunking every time he gets the ball which is why most people haven’t been exposed to him. Plus the Timberwolves suck and won’t be on national TV anytime soon. But even though you won’t find him on ESPN or ABC, at the end of the day Kevin Love’s style shows up at the top of the stat sheet.
If consistency isn’t sexy, athleticism is pure unadulterated sex. And sex sells, not “Love”.
[image credit: http://www.flickr.com/photos/JMRosenfeld]