There are many debates about NBA basketball, and several of them have merit. I, on the other hand, am very careful about starting a debate about hoops, because the first thing most people throw at me is that I was a football player and that I don’t know much about basketball when, in fact, I have more college basketball experience than most of the guys who claim they know the game, because they played on a high school or YMCA team. That being said, there is an argument brewing amongst a lot of NBA followers about a new “best power forward in the game.”
In the past few years, it has been pretty much a non debate as the “Big Fundamental” Tim Duncan has held this title. Duncan was able to hold it down even when explosive guys like Kevin Garnett and fan favorite Rasheed Wallace showcased skills that would make even the best players in the game scratch their head.
When we speak of power forwards, we must include complete game. Rebounds, defense, scoring, and passing. The past few years it has been a toss-up at the position as Dirk Nowitzki and Pau Gasol have been the two best at that position in the NBA. Now there are some budding stars as Blake Griffin and Demarcus Cousins have exploded on the scene. However, dare I say that neither of these guys, old or new, are the best power forward in the game? Dare I say that Kevin Love is the best power forward in the NBA?
Before you come at me with a dagger and throw all these scorers at me, remember what I said about completeness. Ask yourself: is my guy a better rebounder, passer, and defender than Love? Ask yourself: can my guy give me thirty points and thirty boards on any given night: Ask yourself: can your guy dominate a game without taking 20 or more shots? Chances are, the answer is no.
I take nothing from Dirk, Pau, or even Blake Griffin, but they are not complete power forwards. In fact, you can argue that Dirk and Pau are small forwards trapped in power forward bodies. Blake Griffin is still yet to be determined. He is a great offensive player. He can go get the lob, he can handle the rock, but he isn’t pulling in the boards, and he isn’t even close to being a good defender.
What Love is doing is bringing back what the position used to be about. He is a powerful player who gets all he can out of his ability in the post. He is not going to out jump anyone, he is not going to out run anyone, he isn’t even going to look more spectacular than anyone. But when you add up the stats at the end of the night, you can argue that he won’t be out worked by anyone.
Love’s current numbers are 26.1 points per game, 14.8 rebounds per game, along with two assists and one block a night. Dirk is averaging 19 points per game, 5.3 rebounds, three assists and is nowhere to be found in blocks. Pau is slightly better overall than Dirk in every category except scoring. Pau is averaging 17.1 points per game, 8.7 rebounds per game, two assists and two blocks per contest.
The numbers tell part of the story, and I know that there will be naysayers out there. Right or wrong, in my eyes, if he’s not the best, he is becoming the best.
Stay Breezy ~ I’m Out!
At first, when I heard Kevin Love say it himself, and even after reading this article, it made me upset to think this was even up for debate. But, as the article points out, how do you argue it? Right now, no one is playing better, that's for sure. Still, if you asked me, gun to the head with a game on the line, Dirk or Love, I think you'd be a fool not to take Dirk, if only in that scenario. Also, I feel like LaMarcus needs more love. Sure, he's not as prolific a rebounder as Kevin Love is, but he's a hell of a player that, if it wasn't for Portland practically being in Canada, would get a lot more pub.
Kevin Love has the opportunity to be this generation's Moses Malone. Where he isn't as much of a defensive force he makes up with his passing ability and shooting range. Lets just pray Kahn doesn't mess this up.
Kahn may not have a choice if Love decides on no extension.
Speaking of Moses … Kevin Love would look real good taking Elton Brand's spot the upstart Sixers.
A man can dream.
If he isn't crowned yet, he has the crown in both of his hands raised above his head. Everyone has already touched on his completeness. I for one didn't see this coming to this extent. You referenced him not outjumping, outrunning, or outflashing anyone, but outworking everyone. Those are the reasons I thought he would be Bill Laimbeer-esque minus the dirty at best coming into the league.
The man is at elite status already and we have to remember he has been doing it on a dreadful team. Rubio is off to a good start so far, but imagine if he had had legit options for opposing defenses to focus on around him up to this point. Kinda scary.
Great article Joe. Kevin Love is having a monster year and just seems to keep getting better. My only problem is when you stated that Griffin "isn’t pulling in the boards." How can you say that?!!? Griffin is in the top five in rebounding this year. He's also in the top five in scoring. I think Love is better right now, but in a year it will be Blake Griffin holding the crown.
Go Sooners and God Bless!
This is the main reason I.was pissed.if that Gasol.for Love trade was.true he's been improving every year. So its hard to argue this. The kid can shoot rebound and pass he just has to.work on his defense. Kahn will have to.deal a forward for a.solid. veteran wing player maybe.. I still dislike kahn tho but.love is a dog.
For people who are paying attention, it's hard to argue against this. Kevin Love has played some of the most inspired ball of anyone since the start of last season. I'm not sure any power forward can really touch him right now in overall game, and he has singlehandedly made the T-Wolves a must-watch team. Now with Rubio, Beasley and Derrick Williams, the Wolves are one of the most intriguing teams in the NBA.
But it all starts with Love. Take him away, and I'm not all that interested. That's because, like Joe said, he's simply dominating out there and becoming the best at his position in the game, if he isn't already.
Well said Rev.
The crazy thing is, the TImberwolves and David Kahn are going to have to make some tough decisions in the next few months. KLove is at the end of his rookie contract and is about ready to get paid. They obviously want to keep him, but Love wants to win. If they can figure out a way to manage his weaknesses and continue to build the talent around him....watch out.
Ed, You are right. Minnesota usually pays their ticket sellers. I.E. "the big ticket".. The problem is they usually let the supporting cast go for pennies on the dollar. However the arrival of Rubio makes you wonder do they think he can be the next "big ticket" draw.
Agreed. He's definitely bringing the ruckus.
KG, Dirk and Pau have seen their best days. The younger folks like Jefferson, Horford and Aldridge are very good but not yet great. I don't know what to make of Amare. So, that leaves KL as the man approaching his prime who has the most potential.
We'll find out what Love's really about when he leaves the wilderness and links up with a good team.
I agree with you here Jag. Thing is none of the younger crowd have that thirst he is showing. My friends call him Vanilla Rodman. Although it sounds a bit racy its a heck of a compliment in the same breath.
He is definitely off to the best start of the season but I am not ready to crown him just yet. He did have the best power forward numbers in the league last year too. If he pulls it off again, I will be ready to give him the title.
NO doubt about it brother D. The cards are in front of him. If he continues at this rate you can close the book.
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