You can’t really blame Kevin Love if he hates LeBron James or Kevin Durant; I’m not saying he does, just that you couldn’t blame him if he did. Why, you ask? Love is having a historically great season, and he can’t even get a sniff of MVP talk, not even a, “If I had to choose a third, fourth, or fifth place I’d pick Kevin Love.” He is nowhere to be found in the discussion. Granted, part of the reason can be blamed on his team’ poor record, but I’d argue that Love is playing all alone in Minnesota. The Minnesota Timberwolves do not have anyone else who is even close to being an All-Star, while James, Durant, Chris Paul and others are playing with other All-Star players. For Love to be fully appreciated, he must get out of Minnesota.
After last night’s dazzling performance of 37 points, 12 rebounds and 10 assists, Love has pushed his season averages to 26.4 points per game, 13.3 rebounds per game and 4.1 assists per game. There have only been four other men in NBA history that have ever accumulated equal to, or better than, those numbers and they are all in the Hall of Fame: — Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, Wilt Chamberlin, Elgin Baylor and Billy Cunningham. And Love is on pace to be only the second-youngest player to reach these numbers in one season. Abdul-Jabbar did so at ages 22, 24 and 25; Love is 25 years old right now.
The difference between Love and James and Durant is the same difference between Love and all of the aforementioned Hall of Famers; Love isn’t playing on a good team. This is his sixth season in the league and he has yet to make the playoffs. He hasn’t even been close yet, and he won’t make it again this season. The true greatness of Love will never be known until he is apart of a great team. Abdul-Jabbar, Chamberlin, Baylor and Cunningham all won titles, and that is never going to happen for Love in Minnesota.
An interview Love did with GQ Magazine came out earlier this week, and in the article he stated that “we have the better team, the better foundation” when referring to rumors of him wanting to become a Los Angeles Laker. Are you sure about that, Love? The Lakers have been decimated by injuries and are only eight games behind the Timberwolves. If you add the 10.9 win-shares that Love has been worth this season to the Lakers’ record and subtract that from the Timberwolves’ record, then the Lakers are clearly the better team. Love also said in the interview “I’m having fun,” but how much fun can it be losing?
Minnesota has only one player that can even remotely be considered an above-average NBA starter, Nikola Pekovic, but he is often injured. Next season, the Lakers will have a returning Kobe Bryant, a high first-round draft pick, and since they have more than $25 million in cap space this summer, they will also add one or two big free agents. The Timberwolves are better now, but won’t be for long, and being better now still doesn’t equate to a playoff appearance.
I am not saying that Love needs to be traded to the Lakers or that he should request a trade. I do think he should tone down the sentiment towards the Timberwolves for now, because after next season, he can opt out of his deal, and if things are still going the same way in Minnesota, he will probably opt out. But hey, that is one way to get in the discussion with James; keep saying you are going to stay, then leave. But I have a feeling Love wants to be mentioned in a different type of sentence with James and the other greats in the history of the NBA.