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NY Times: Kevin Love’s Rare Combination of Talents

Posted by Justin Kubatko on February 3, 2011

Some love for Love:

Keeping Score: Kevin Love’s Rare Combination of Talents

This will also appear in tomorrow's print edition.

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15 Responses to “NY Times: Kevin Love’s Rare Combination of Talents”

  1. Matt Says:

    So he's a glorified 2008-2009 Troy Murphy. Big deal.

    Just kidding -- it will be interesting to see how Love develops and how he plays when/if he is surrounded with better talent.

  2. Jason J Says:

    Anybody else wonder if the lack of fouls by Love is an indication of a lack of defense?

    I honestly haven't seen a single TWolves game this season, and Love got very little burn in Turkey this season, but I do remember my main man Dennis Rodman raising Phil Jackson's ire back in the day for abandoning defensive sets to go rebound chasing - and Rodman was a good defender to start off. Is there reason Rambis hesitated to give Love big minutes last season and early this season because Kevin's more committed to chasing caroms than to playing team defense?

    On the other hand Larry Bird played very dedicated team defense and also secured a lot of defensive rebounds because his role gave him those opportunities.

  3. Justin Kubatko Says:

    Jason J wrote:

    Anybody else wonder if the lack of fouls by Love is an indication of a lack of defense?

    I don't think by itself it's an indication of a lack of defense, as plenty of very good defenders have had low foul rates (e.g., Tim Duncan, Bill Russell, and Ben Wallace).

  4. Greyberger Says:

    The problem then is all the other indications that Love lacks defensive skills (acknowledging that defense is as much about effort and fit as skill):

    The Twolves are an awful defensive team, and Love plays the most minutes.

    By any sort of on-court off-court information Love appears average at best on defense.

    When Love is on the court, the team sees a huge boost in offensive rebounding. Defensive rebounding; not so much.

    Apparently his defense just looks weak when watching T-wolves games. I haven't seen enough to say so, but it's something you hear.

  5. Justin Kubatko Says:

    Greyberger wrote:

    The problem then is all the other indications that Love lacks defensive skills [...]

    Just to be clear, I wasn't suggesting that Love is a good defensive player. I was just pointing out that a low foul rate is not necessarily an indicator of poor defense.

  6. Walter Says:

    How is Kurt Rambis not fired yet? How can any coach justify playing Anthony Toliver over Love like Rambis did to start the year?

    Steve Nash is a poor defender (probably worse than Love), but at no point in time would a coach have said "I really should play Barbosa and sit Nash... it gives me the best chance at winning."

  7. AYC Says:

    It's amazing a player with his production can have such a bad team record. Of course, according to WS, he is personally responsible for 86% of their 11 wins.

  8. Jason J Says:

    Good point, Justin. I guess fouls committed is poor indicator of defensive intensity.

  9. BSK Says:

    Totally off-topic but I just thought about it while watching Heats/Magic. The announcers were talking about how it is hard to win with a player like Howard because you can't go to him at the end of the game due to his poor free throw shooting. They noted his 58% career mark (though it may have just been the season mark). Anyway, if I understand Offensive Efficiency property, it is generally given as Points per 100 possessions, yes? Well, if a player is fouled every time down the court and makes 58% of his free throws, doesn't that work out to an OE of 116P/100Pos? Am I missing something? Isn't that phenomenal? Now, I realize that Dwight or other similar players would have limited utility if a team is trying to make a quick comeback and that a 58% shooter cannot be relied up to make 1.16 points every time down the court. But why wouldn't you just let the team hack him, pickup the occasional And-1 and put up an absurd OE? I'm missing something, right?

  10. DSMok1 Says:

    "I'm missing something, right?"

    No, you're not. However, at the end of games when being fouled, you'd like a good bit more than 1.16 PPP--it's quite easy to do better with good shooters (see how OKC closes out the close games). That 1.16 doesn't account for turnovers, though, so it probably would be down near 1.00.

  11. BSK Says:

    DSMok-

    Thanks. I guess I was thinking of a back and forth game, where teams might not otherwise be fouling. I'm sure most end of game scenarios have enough other factors where putting the ball in Dwight's hands wouldn't be ideal. But I wanted to make sure I understood the theory correctly.

  12. Greyberger Says:

    I was just rambling about Love as an all-star in general. The defense thing is just a knock on what's still been a remarkable season for him. I'd go for Aldridge this season for the All-star, but this is pretty far off-topic.

  13. Greyberger Says:

    Re:7, not exactly, because I think WS will sum closer to Pythagorean wins than actual W-L. For example the Twolves' Win shares sum to 15 or 16, which is the wins you'd expect given their point differential and average 'luck' in close games.

  14. Nick Says:

    Regarding Love on D, I think if he was on a team that played good D, he'd be a lot better. It's not like the guy is lacking in the effort department. Any number of players have gone from being utter defensive liabilities to being solid when put into a good system that utilizes their abilities well.

  15. Joel Says:

    The Timberwolves have the worst guards in the league, and Darko Milcic as their center. It's hard to read too much into Love's defensive ability in that context. Frankly, it's hard to say whether his rebound rates are partially inflated due to the weakness of his supporting cast (not to say that he's not a great rebounder).