For more than a decade, the battle for the title of Most Skilled Big Man in the NBA rotated between Tim Duncan, Kevin Garnett and Dirk Nowitzki, but the most skilled big man in the league is now Kevin Love, and it isn’t even a discussion.
Since the 1985-86 season, only Love and Vince Carter have ever recorded a game with 42 or more points, 16 or more rebounds, and five or more made three-pointers, and now Love has done it twice. Oh, and Carter is a wing-player. Big men aren’t supposed to do what Love can do.
There isn’t a big man that has ever had the full skill-set of Love. Nowitzki was a better shooter, but he wasn’t nearly as good on the glass, nor as good of a passer as Love. Duncan and Garnett are way better defenders, and both are very skilled on the offensive end, but neither can shoot it like Love. His talents are truly unique.
The fact that Love exploded for a huge game on the eve of the NBA Trade Deadline should not come as a surprise. It has been rumored that the Dallas Mavericks and Los Angeles Lakers have been trying to trade for Love in recent days, but Love made it clear he wants to stay in Minnesota.
I know that it is hard to trust an NBA superstar when they say they are happy where they are at, but Love told GQ Magazine that he believes the Timberwolves have a better roster than the Lakers, and he isn’t wrong. Love made his case for staying in Minnesota, and for the T’imberwolves’ sake, I hope they take notice.
Love doesn’t want to be traded, and he showed Minnesota why he is worth keeping on Wednesday night. His huge night is made even larger because he did it against the best defensive team in the league, and the way he did it was amazing. Love scored in the paint, off of offensive rebounds, and from the perimeter. He even got David West twice by faking a handoff to a circling Ricky Rubio, then stepping back for a three-pointer.
What Love brings to the table is not going to be duplicated by any player in the league, so Minnesota needs to stop worrying about what they are going to do when he leaves, and start focusing on what they can do to build around him and get them back to the playoffs.