There are a ton of things to like about Kevin Love. A UCLA power forward with a sweet stroke – and the nephew of Beach Boys founder Mike Love – Kevin enjoys chucking deep three-pointers, and engaging in belligerently awkward high fives (relived below). But Kevin has had a rather odd career thus far, starting with the handshake..
Most recently NBA fans remember his Cleveland Cavaliers losing their third best player and still making the Conference Finals, albeit in the East. And then remember him dislocating his shoulder in Game 4 of a sweep, which is in line with this guy’s career. It’s never been an easy ride for Love, as he was surrounded by Minnesota negligence during the early part of his career. Let’s rewind..
An obvious stud during his first year of college, Love massaged his stacked Bruins into the 2008 Final Four. He entered the 2008 NBA Draft as a top prospect, but was passed over for explosive guards like Derrick Rose and Russell Westbrook, or polished scorers like O.J. Mayo and Michael Beasley. Memphis saw a shine, however, and plucked Love with the fifth pick – before, to keep in line with the nature of his story, the Grizzlies traded him to Minnesota for O.J. Mayonnaise. They clearly felt defense wasn’t his forte.
With the Timberwolves, Love was beloved for his statistical accomplishments (he averaged 20.2 points and 15.2 rebounds in only his third season) but despised for his lack of playoff exposure or, rather, ability to carry his young and injury plagued squad past the regular season. Heck, he even won the 2012 three-point contest in magical fashion. Dude can ball.
But keep in mind that during his days in Minnesota, Love’s most reliable teammate was a young and unpolished Al Jefferson. Love also had to endure David Kahn, the league’s worst GM, who notoriously drafted two point guards back to back in the same year, right before Steph Curry. Clearly the Wolves were no well-oiled machine.
Fast forward to Andrew Wiggins, drafted first overall by LeBron James’ Cleveland Cavaliers. Minnesota jumps on a deal to trade Love to Cleveland for Andrew Wiggins, Anthony Bennett, Thaddeus Young and a $6.3 million trade exception – Kevin Love was free and seemingly playoff bound.
But since he’s changed teams, all we’ve seen from Love is the same inconsistent, unspectacular catch-and-shoot-stretch-four play – despite now being surrounded by the best player in the game. On the other hand, maybe the Cavaliers did win this trade? Maybe guaranteeing a solid third fiddle for LeBron was exactly what the former Cavalier wanted in his return home.
And given LeBron’s vacuuming defense, Kevin can pretty much hangout all day – doing whatever the hell it is he does on defense other than flock without purpose.