Timberwolves’ Kevin Love Rapidly Rising to Stardom


I “fearlessly predicted” back in October that Kevin Love would average 18 points and 13 rebounds. Oh how that has proven to be an understatement.

On the year Kevin Love is averaging 20 points per game, and 15.3 rebounds per game. Far higher than the “fearless” numbers that I predicted back in October.

On November 12 myself and a group of my friends headed to the Target Center to catch a Friday night Minnesota Timberwolves game. We went to the arena to celebrate a buddy of mine’s 24th birthday, but we left being a part of NBA History.

On that night Kevin Love had his coming out party:

  • 31 points and 31 rebounds.
  • Setting the Timberwolves’ franchise record for rebounds in a game.
  • The most rebounds in a single NBA game since Charles Barkley had 33 back in 1996.
  • The first 30-30 night since Moses Malone back in 1982.
  • And most importantly to Timberwolves fans, that game was Love’s  beginning of a sneaky rise to NBA stardom.

Ok, so you’re thinking. “Why do these stats matter, he’s on a five win team.” Although you may have an argument, I am here to show that Kevin Love is quietly becoming an elite power forward in the NBA.

As of December 7th, Love is currently 7th amongst NBA power forwards in scoring at 20 points per game (Note: teammate Michael Beasley is 3rd on this list at 21.8 points per game). If you extrapolate that data to points per 48 minutes, Love jumps up to number 5 on the list at 28 ppg.

Love sits far ahead of any other NBA power forward in rebounds per game at 15.3; and his closest competition is Reggie Evens at 12.1, and Blake Griffin at 11.8. He is 3.1 rebounds per game ahead of Joakim Noah (12.2) for the NBA lead.

Love’s 16 double-doubles sits him atop the league in that department at the power forward position, ahead of Pau Gasol and Blake Griffin’s 15. He is one of only seven players in the league to be averaging a double-double.  As Love gets high praise for his ability to rebound offensively (4.7 per game), his defensive rebounds alone have him averaging a double-double.

Love’s addition of a consistent three-point shot has aided his game immensely.

Of qualified players, Love sits 7th amongst NBA power forwards in three-point percentage at .403. The biggest name on the list ahead of him is teammate Michael Beasley. Of the top seven, Love (62) leads the group in three-point attempts.

Love leads all power forwards in free-throw percentage at .894, and is 13th amongst all players.

ESPN’s John Hollinger’s Player Efficiency rating (PER) puts Love (23.81) as the third most efficient power forwards in the NBA. Only Dirk Nowitzski (24.68) and Pau Gasol (24.77) have higher PER ratings.

Love, who is just 22 years old, has quietly made himself one of the elite players in this league, let alone at the power forward position.

Although his team only has five wins and it is the first week of December, it would be a colossal travesty if Kevin Love isn’t named to the Western Conference All-Star team this season.

-Brett Cloutier

You can follow Brett on Twitter, or on his weekly podcast—The Backdoor Cut

He can be contacted at cloutier@augsburg.edu

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