Hall of Fame Power Forward, and now TNT Analyst, Charles Barkley proclaimed Minnesota’s Kevin Love to be the best power forward in the NBA. In fact, he insisted upon it a few times to make sure his opinion was heard. While Sir Charles has certainly been known to throw around some bold claims from time to time, he was adament on this one, and a case could me made to support his sentiment.
As last year’s Most Improved Player, Kevin Love’s stock has been steadily on the rise. In his rookie season, Love nearly averaged a double-double, and did so very quietly. In his Sophomore campaign, he made a little noise and improved upon all his key statistics, proving himself worthy of his fifth overall selection in the draft. But it wasn’t until Al Jefferson was traded to Utah in 2010 that Love got the chance to show just how talented he really was.
After already stark improvements across the board, Love stepped his game up to an almost outlandish degree. His point totals jumped from 14 per game to 20, and more impressive then that was his nightly rebounding average where he skyrocketed up to 15 boards per contest. He would finish the season leading the league in that category by a full three rebounds more then next Power Forward in line, Zach Randolph. Dwight Howard was the second overall rebounder, behind Love, but given that he’s Superman that was to be expected. Regardless, Kevin Love proved in 2011 that he was a force to be reckoned with, but can we safely say that he is the best in the game at his position? I can think of few players off the top of my head that may beg to differ.
The new poster child for the NBA, Blake Griffin, may be someone who will challenge Love for the title. As the recipient of “Lob City”, Griffin is in store for some gaudy numbers this season. He obviously possesses the physical capabilities, perhaps more so then Love himself, but especially now that he has a compatible running mate in Chris Paul, the sky is the limit for The Blake Show.
Or how about that guy in Dallas? If I’m not mistaken, a man named Dirk won the NBA Finals MVP last year, and while the Mavericks are off to a slow start this year, he is one player that you can always count on to his part. A Seven-Footer who can pull up and shoot from anywhere on the court, yeah that may be a candidate for “Best Power Forward in the NBA”.
There are a few more worth mentioning, but the fact remains, while you may not believe that Love is the best player at his position, he is definitely in the conversation. I mean, do you know how many players in the last three decades have scored 30 points and grabbed 30 rebounds in a single game? Only one. His name is Kevin Love and if he keeps improving at the pace he’s been on, it’s scary to think how good he could possibly become.