The Minnesota Timberwolves were absolutely crippled by injuries in the 2012-2013 NBA season across the board. However, it was clear from the get-go that the most devastating injury that they suffered was losing star power forward Kevin Love for all but 18 games last season. To make matters worse, he was clearly not himself when he was on the floor, either.
Love is now 100 percent healed from his broken hand, though, and is looking to help lead an improved Timberwolves team back to the playoffs for the first time in a decade. Love is a special talent in this league because of the way he can affect a game in so many ways. He can score both on the interior and perimeter, can defend better than people think, and is one of the best rebounders in the game.
As the Wolves started the preseason, though, Love didn’t look much like that player and was quite inconsistent. Over the team’s first three preseason game, the power forward averaged just 10.3 points, 6.3 rebounds and 2.3 assists in 21.7 minutes per game while shooting only a combined 10-26 from the field. It wasn’t exactly a promising showing from Love to start the preseason.
In Minnesota’s last two preseason games, last Saturday against the Toronto Raptors and this Sunday against the Boston Celtics, Love has looked every bit like the start that he was prior to his injury.
Against the Raptors last weekend, Love played 28 minutes and finished the game with 28 points, 11 rebounds, two assists and two steals while shooting 9-19 from the floor and 2-5 from three. Love was also able to get to the free throw line 10 times in the game in addition to having an impact all over the floor.
On Sunday as the Wolves took on Boston, Love continued what he had started over a week ago. In Minnesota’s 104-89 victory, the forward finished the night with 22 points, nine rebounds, three assists, three steals and one block in 33 minutes. He shot a solid 6-14 from the floor and 8-9 from the foul line in the contest as well. The only drawback to his performance on Sunday was that he shot just 2-8 from three.
Love’s offense is going to be vital to the Wolves this season. With the signings that the organization made this summer, they are clearly focusing on having an effective offensive unit more than they are their defense. As their best offensive player, that means Love will have to be a force on that end of the floor, as well as all over. Though it’s not the regular season, seeing the big man play this way is definitely a positive sign looking ahead.