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NBA Minnesota Timberwolves

2014 NBA All-Star Game: Kevin Love Wholly Deserving of First Start

Kevin Love All-Star

Brace Hemmelgarn – USA Today Sports Images

The starters for the 2014 NBA All-Star Game, an honor bestowed upon players through fan-voting, were announced on Thursday evening as part of the Inside the NBA broadcast. While you probably could have guessed that LeBron James and Kevin Durant would be the leading vote-getters, four first-time starters made the cut including Minnesota Timberwolves star forward Kevin Love.

Love received the fewest amount of votes of any of the 10 starters voted in, narrowly edging out Houston Rockets center Dwight Howard in the Western Conference frontcourt. Though this is Love’s third All-Star appearance in his career, it is his first start and, quite frankly, anything less would’ve been a mockery.

You could certainly make a case for Howard, who has been pretty underrated in Houston this year, there’s no denying what Love has done for Minnesota. In 40 games this season, Love has put up 25 points, 13 rebounds and 4.1 assists per game and, though he’s shooting only 45.9 percent from the floor, his 58.6 true shooting percentage is quite impressive.

Partially due to the Wolves struggling bench, but largely due to Love’s impact, the Wolves are 18.1 points per 100 possessions better when their star forward is on the floor. Moreover, Minnesota is still in the playoff picture and has the chance to make the postseason for the first time in a decade and that is massively due to Love’s contributions.

You can definitely knock Love’s defense, which has been inconsistent at best this season. However, his play has been phenomenal and, though he has slowed down since his MVP-level of play at the start of the year, he’s been a consistent star. Him starting in the All-Star Game simply means that the voters got it right this year.

Cody Williams is a Senior Writer with Rant Sports. Follow Cody on Twitter @TheSizzle20, add him on Google and like his Facebook page.