Archives For scoring efficiency

Love on the rebound

Benjamin Polk —  February 5, 2012 — 6 Comments

Blake Griffin sells cars, Kevin Love sells deodorant (and Tequila, and weird Chinese sneakers)

Kevin Love responded to his omission from the list of All-Star starters with perfect poise. As he told Kent Youngblood of the Strib when asked about losing out in the fan balloting to Kevin Durant and Blake Griffin, “They’re fun to watch, they’re fan favorites. If you don’t like watching those guys play, you don’t like basketball.” (He also, in that same interview, had this to say about his ever-shaggier beard: “David Kahn doesn’t like it, so I’ll keep it.” I totally love that.) And he’s right: Blake Griffin is the guy who jumps over people, cars, Subway sandwiches, who throws down on faces, who is literally changing the idea of dunking before our eyes. Kevin Love is just his weird, ragged self.

Either way, don’t you worry about it. Love is sure to be included on the roster when the coaches make their selections on Thursday. After all, the guy is sixth in the league in PER, just a notch behind Derrick Rose of all people. He’s fourth in the league in scoring and second in rebounds. The man is an All-Star.  What’s strange about all of this is that, although Love has now officially become a superstar, a max player and and a darkhorse MVP candidate, his scoring efficiency, rebounding efficiency and rebounding volume are all down from last year. Last year his true shooting percentage was .593; this year it’s at .578. His rebounding rates–he’s grabbing 11.8% of available offensive boards, 26.9% of defensive boards and 19.3% overall–are actually the lowest of his career. What’s going on here?

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Last year, Kevin Love led the NBA in rebounds per game. He was a last-minute All-Star selection and was, deservedly, named the league’s most improved player. He has a World Championship gold medal that he can wear in the bathtub if he feels like it. You might remember that he once scored 31 points and grabbed 30 rebounds in one game. According to #NBARank, he is the 16th-best player in the game. He is, without question, the Timberwolves’ best player since Kevin Garnett.

But beyond these bare facts, it’s difficult to find consensus on Love’s place in the game.  When it comes to the game’s newer school stats, metrics that seek to balance efficiency and volume, Love simply crushes. He finished fourth in the league in PER last year, just behind Dwyane Wade, Dwight Howard and King James himself. Oh, but what if you think, “that’s weak, K-Love is better than those chumps”? Well the Wages of Wins has got your back, having ranked our boy first in the whole NBA (!) in Wins Produced. (And please note that, max contracts notwithstanding, the folks at WoW claim that Love is worth no less than $45.6 million. Per year. Pass the hat, y’all.)

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