Not since the likes of Dennis Rodman, Charles Barkley and a much younger Shaquille O’Neal have we seen such a skilled rebounder. It’s as if he has projectile radar in his eyes that knows exactly where the ball will bounce after a missed shot. Is it possible to mathematically calculate the exact bounce a ball will take based on the height and power of a shot and who the player was that took it? These are just some of the questions that need to be answered as we take a closer look at the NBA’s next Great White Hype.
In the past there have been some dominant white basketball players. Larry Bird, John Stockton, Jason Kidd (1/2), Mark Price, Steve Nash, Dirk Nowitzki, John Havlicek, Adam Morrison (JUST KIDDING!) have all laced up their sneakers and played top notch basketball just to name a few. Each of them had their specialty or area of expertise. Larry Bird was a power player with a sweet shot from the outside, John Stockton had court vision like no other, and John Havlicek was smooth like peanut butter. But none of these players was as dominant (Except for Larry Bird at periods) of a rebounder as Kevin Love of the Minnesota Timberwolves is right now. He is exhibiting a natural born ability to hover towards the ball and scoop up any loose ball wherever he may be.
In just his 3rd season in the league Love is demonstrating the skills and abilities that will make him a superstar for years to come. He has elevated his stats dramatically year over year, most notably with his scoring and rebounding numbers. The following is a breakdown of his scoring numbers in his first 3 years. It’s evidently clear he’s not done yet if his first few years are any indication.
POINTS: 08/09 – 11.1, 09/10 – 14.0, 10/11 – 20.9
REBOUNDS: 08/09 – 9.1, 09/10 – 11.0, 10/11 – 20.9
The most astounding part of his game aside from his insane rebounding numbers has to be his new found talent of being a sharp shooting 3-point marksman. He is averaging an amazing 3.1 attempts per game from beyond the 3 point line and puts away 1.3 of these attempts on average. What makes this so incredible is the fact that he averages such a high number of rebounds per game. It’s not that often we see a player who plays such a powerful inside game shoots the lights out from 3 point range. The NBA is full of hybrid type players. They drive and kick, they post up and they pop-em, but it’s a rare feat to see a big man that can shoot and rebound the way Love does. Andrea Bargnani is a great example of a 7’ footer who has great 3-point range but has a terrible low post presence averaging a meager 5.6 rebounds per game.
Kevin Love appears to be emerging as one of the games top players. He was overlooked in the 2008 NBA Draft being selected 5th overall out of UCLA. In College, he was quite the dominant player averaging 17.5 ppg and 10.6 rpg, but no one would have expected him to be putting up better numbers against NBA talent.
Kevin Love is going nowhere. The question is whether or not the Minnesota Timberwolves are going to be willing to pay the price tag that Love will demand when he becomes a free agent.
Wesley Snipes said it right in the movie “White Men Can’t Jump”. In Love’s case, it looks as though there is no need to jump, rather stick his caboose in his opposition’s hip and clear space for the rebound.
Kevin Love, the NBA’s Great White Hype!