One of the things that seems to get brought up more often these days concerning Kevin Love and the Minnesota Timberwolves is whether or not this team can win with him as their star player. After all, the Wolves haven’t made the postseason in a decade, even with Love trying his mightiest to lead the way.
On Saturday night against the Atlanta Hawks, though, Love did everything in his power to grab a win for the Wolves and to try and move over .500. In 38 minutes, the power forward put up 43 points, 19 rebounds and one assist while shooting 12-22 from the floor, 2-3 from three and a silky 17-18 from the charity stripe. However, the Wolves fell to the Hawks by a count of 120-113.
The issue against Atlanta was hardly related to Love and more with the fact that Love’s supporting cast failed to deliver alongside the All-Star’s monster performance. Kevin Martin added 17 points, but did so on just 5-14 shooting from the floor. The other three Wolves starters combined to score just 20 points on the evening and their bench—outside of J.J. Barea—continued their less-than-mediocre play that they’ve been giving Minnesota consistently this year.
Minnesota now stands at just 23-24 for the year, but I’m still baffled how anyone can blame Love for this team not getting over the hump. If you want to point out his defense, that’s a fair point. However, what he’s done offensively and on the glass outweighs his defensive shortcomings. 25.1 points, 13 rebounds and 4.1 assists per game are huge numbers to be putting up and that doesn’t even factor in how Love can keep opposing defense guessing due to his versatility.
Love is deserving of his starting spot in the 2014 NBA All-Star Game, even if the Wolves haven’t realized their full potential. There are a lot of places you can look to blame on this Minnesota team for their lack of success, but it’s ludicrous to say that Love can’t be the number-one guy on a quality team.