Updated: December 15, 2011, 12:45 PM ET

TrueHoop TV: Looking Forward

Player Profiles: Kevin Love

By John Hollinger
ESPN.com
 Projection: 23.3 pts, 17.1 reb, 2.9 ast per 40 min; 24.80 PER | Player card

• Dominant two-way rebounder who is master of positioning on block.
• Good spot-up shooter, passer. Great outlet passer. Limited low-post game.
• Poor defensive player. Physical, but doesn't move well or challenge shots.


The most amazing part about Love's season is that, at the outset, his coach wasn't totally sure if he was any good; Love averaged 28.4 minutes in the opening nine games until his 31-point, 31-rebound game against New York on Nov. 12 finally hammered home the obvious fact that he was the team's best player. It was the NBA's first 30-30 game in a quarter century, and a springboard for Love to win the rebounding title.

In addition to leading power forwards in both rebound rate and defensive rebound rate (he was third overall in both categories), having the top PER at his position, and rather shockingly scoring 22.4 points per 40 minutes with hardly a single play called for him, Love showcased a variety of other superlatives. He's a foul magnet who was fourth at his position in free throw attempts per field goal attempt, and made opponents pay by hitting 85.0 percent at the stripe -- including one streak of 46 straight. He shot 41.7 percent on 3s, which isn't what you expect from a league-leading rebounder, helping offset a disappointing season on long 2s (he made only 34.0 percent of his 2s beyond 10 feet).

The one sticking point is that he's still a poor defensive player. Love's Synergy numbers were pretty solid, but you'd have a hard time explaining why. He was 62nd out of 70 power forwards in both blocks and steals per minute, while his owning the lowest foul rate at his position is more a condemnation of his effort than a positive sign. Love is slow in transition D, often doesn't rotate out on switches, and struggles to guard long post players.

I would argue Love was better defensively at center; though a deficient shot-blocker, as a 5 he can use his physicality, spend more time in the paint and focus on rebounding. If the Wolves decide to end the Darko Milicic silliness and move Love to the middle it would also open another spot for all their assorted 6-9 combo forwards.

Read more Hollinger player profiles Insider

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