Throughout the Minnesota Timberwolves 2010-2011 season, much like many previous seasons, there have been very few bright spots. The youth and inexperience has overshadowed the talent and potential of this squad for the better part of a decade. This year, however, instead of looking at the great numbers of a black hole in the post, we are watching a tough nosed hardworking individual play within the confines of the offense to put up some absolutely fantastic numbers.
Kevin Love has been a sight for sore eyes in Minneapolis this year, putting up gaudy numbers that don’t only put him at or near the top of the NBA in rebounds, points and 3 point %, but put him in a historically significant role for a new type of rebounder in the NBA: A rebounder that can step outside and hit the three.
This ability is something many people have not said enough about. There is a reason most big guys with gaudy rebounding numbers never work on that shot. If they are standing at the three point line, it makes it nearly impossible to get the rebound underneath. This is why Love has been so historically brilliant. If he were to camp out down low the whole game, his rebounding numbers could increase significantly from the nearly 16 rebounds per game he is at right now.
To me, the best part of watching Kevin Love is that he doesn’t call for the ball. He is not the focal point of the offense, but yet he moves well and positions himself to get points when the play moves over to him. There is no complaining when he doesn’t get enough touches, and no yelling at teammates when they take an open shot. Everything he does offensively is exactly as Rambis draws it up, which is exactly what every coach wants from their star player.
Now that the streak is over, Love says it is a weight off his shoulders. He can now stop worrying about stats, and do what he needs to do to help the Wolves get some wins. The only problem with him saying this is that what he was doing WAS putting us in the best position to win. His rebounding, put backs and three pointers have been somewhat of a clutch for this team when things go bad. He has kept us in close games when we see Flynn/Bassy/Ridinour making terrible decisions and spotting the other team 10-15 points per game. He has squeegee’d the glass when Darko is putting up 5 ill-advised shots per game. He is the guy setting an example for guys, playing his heart out every single time up and down the floor. Whatever you do Kevin, please don’t take this as an excuse to do less for the team.
The streak may be over at 53. It may have been stopped by the defensive efforts of a terrible defensive team. Kevin Love may never get to 50 straight again in his career. With all of the press and spotlight for Kevin Love this season, in the least he brought Wolves fans a reason to watch and a reason to believe once again. Next season is another that will show improvement not only for Love, but for the team as a whole. Hopefully there is enough here to turn the corner and get some more wins.