We’re creating sub-categories in light of the Tim Duncans, the Kevin Garnetts, the Giannis Antetokounmpos…
The historical power forward breakdown for greatest of all time — excuse me, Greatest of All Time — needs to include Charles and the Mailman. The slightly more nuanced breakdown will mention Rodman. When comparing Kevin Love to these legends there’s even a caveat mentioning Larry Bird now. It used to be just because he was white, but now there’s comparison plays to draw from.
I don’t necessarily feel those two plays are similar, but the comparison was made by Key Dae.
The power forward spot has kind of become the diva spot in the NBA. Like wide receivers in the NFL. Chris Bosh. Amare Stoudemire. Andrea Bargnani. LaMarcus Aldridge. Lots of guys who want to face up. Lots of guys who want to take defenses off the dribble. Lots of guys who want to shoot threes and dunk off pick-and-rolls and look cool doing it. Not many guys who want to set killer screens. Not many guys who want to box out hard and throw elbows, who want to dive into the scorer’s table for a loose ball.
But yeah. Love isn’t a diva forward. And he knows he’s not an athletic adonis either. He knows he’s not Kevin Garnett. He’s knows he’s not Tim Duncan, or small-ball LeBron, or pre-crackhead Shawn Kemp. He knows he doesn’t have Redwood tree legs or commercial airliner arms or a vertical that rivals Vinsanity circa his Air Canada days.
He knows he doesn’t have the option to pattern his game after the power forwards of the 2000s. So instead, he patterns it after the guys from the Golden Age.
Kevin Love’s court vision has undoubtably wowed early this season, and his ability to put it on the deck is dramatically better too, but I’ve actually been most impressed by his mobility. Love made good on his promise to get into the best shape of his career seriously, and it’s showed.
Love’s new quickness is as old school as it comes. He knows he’s not Garnett. He knows he’s not Chris Webber, or Tim Duncan. They play(ed) the games of guys with height and reach and ups, and of the many, many things Love has and can still add to his game, 4 more inches and a 7’2″ wingspan aren’t among them.
So he does what the old school guys did: be in the right condition to play the game with range and quickness. Dennis Rodman. Charles Oakley. Kurt Thomas. Antonio Davis. Charles Barkley. Guys who had stature closer to small forwards than power forwards, so they played the game with the mobility of a small forward at the power forward spot. Love came into this season with their type of ground game. The kicker being that he has the skill of a Bird or Malone to boot.