Minnesota Timberwolves forward Kevin Love would surely like to forget about last season, from a broken hand suffered during the preseason that lingered even once he returned to a left knee issue that ended his season early. When it was all said and done he averaged 18.3 points, 14.0 rebounds and 2.3 assists per game in just 18 games played.
Love is reportedly 100 percent healthy now, and has also lost significant weight this offseason in an effort to improve his endurance and stay healthy. When we last saw Love at full strength he averaged 26.0 points, 13.3 rebounds and two assists per game while making over 37 percent of his three-pointers during the lockout-shortened 2011-2012 season.
To Love’s credit he has generally added something to his game each season during his career, most notably perimeter shooting since entering the league, and a report from Jerry Zgoda of the Minneapolis Star Tribune suggest coach Rick Adelman has tweaked Minnesota’s offense to take advantage of Love’s passing ability. The prospect of having the ball in his hands more should generally benefit Love this season, but should fantasy basketball owners expect a return to glory?
Love has barely played with Timberwolves’ point guard Ricky Rubio at this point, but both are also now entering a season healthy off of a normal offseason for the first time in three seasons together. They could quickly become one of the top offensive duos in the entire league, and each stands to reap the benefits of the other’s presence.
I expect Love to re-establish himself as one of the best offensive big men in the NBA this season, with averages of 20 points and 12 rebounds per game within reach, and perhaps serving as low-water marks in each category. Add in the potential for five assists per game if he is used as a facilitator at times, and Love could become a potential value pick in drafts if he falls based on last season. He has not shown a tremendous defensive acumen, with subpar career averages in blocked shots (0.5) and steals (0.6) per game, but otherwise fantasy owners shouldn’t find too much fault with Love’s production this season.
Brad Berreman is a contributing writer at Rant Sports.com. Follow him on Twitter @bradberreman24.