Mar 20, 2014; Houston, TX, USA; Minnesota Timberwolves forward Kevin Love (42) on the court during the third quarter against the Houston Rockets at Toyota Center. Mandatory Credit: Andrew Richardson-USA TODAY Sports

Minnesota Timberwolves: Should the Fans Turn on Kevin Love?

The Minnesota Timberwolves are in a rough spot right now — and Kevin Love isn’t helping matters. Love has pointed out a few teams he’d like to be traded to (although he hasn’t eliminated any), but those teams don’t provide the Wolves with the best return for their superstar. Shouldn’t fans be upset with Love at this point? After all, the future of the franchise hangs in the balance, and Love is the one pulling all the strings.

HISTORY OF ANGER

Apr 5, 2013; Atlanta, GA, USA; NCAA basketball former player Christian Laettner speaks during the 75 years of March madness press conference in preparation for the Final Four of the 2013 NCAA basketball tournament at the Georgia Dome. Mandatory Credit: Richard Mackson-USA TODAY Sports

Timberwolves fans haven’t had a history of taking it out on players (except YOU, Christian Laettner). I think I speak for the fan base when I say we have taken our anger out on ownership and management over the years. For goodness sake, we tried an under-the-table deal with Joe Smith that wasted prime years of Kevin Garnett‘s career.

Although it would have been easy for us to get upset with Latrell Sprewell (can’t feed family on $8 million per year) or J.R. Rider (never giving a shit) or even Michael Beasley (laundry list of things), we’ve always come back to the Glen Taylor and David Kahn’s of the world.

Now, we’ve got the franchise’s main guy in Love, who can’t wait to skip town…yet the public outcry has been minimal.

IT’S NOT LOVE’S FAULT

I’ve heard this one before. Love has a right to be upset because they should have given him a maximum extension when they had the chance. Let me clue you in on a little secret here — it’s not about the money at this point. Love is a California (or at least coastal) guy. He doesn’t like the Minnesota winters. He doesn’t like the small-market opportunities.

Let’s squash this idea right here, because even if the Wolves had done the right thing and given Love his maximum extension, he’d still be unhappy at this point, he just wouldn’t be able to hold the team hostage until next season.

HE COULD HELP OUT

The thing that the Timberwolves did for Love (player option) is going to end up hurting them the most. Teams aren’t going to want Love as a rental, because they know they’ll have to give up their cache of assets to acquire him and will want some guarantees that Love is going to stick around.

Unfortunately, that all but rules out small markets in cold-weather cities. That kills the Wolves, because they’d love to make a deal with the Cleveland Cavaliers, Milwaukee Bucks or Philadelphia 76ers to get into the top-3 of this year’s NBA Draft.

So we’ll ask the question again — why aren’t we getting more upset with Love over this?

WHAT HAS HE DONE, ANYWAY?

This is the only thing I can think of as far as the direction of hate from the fans. Love hasn’t exactly brought this team to the promise land. Wolves fans love Ricky Rubio, we like Nikola Pekovic and we feel like we’ve got a good one in Gorgui Dieng. Yeah, Love is our best player, but in six seasons, he hasn’t even set foot on a playoff game’s court (maybe he bought courtside tickets once).

Since he’s been with the team, here is what the team has accomplished:

Season Lg Team W L W/L% Finish SRS Pace ORtg DRtg Coaches Top WS
2013-14 NBA Minnesota Timberwolves 40 42 .488 3 3.10 97.3 108.9 106.2 R. Adelman (40-42) K. Love (14.3)
2012-13 NBA Minnesota Timberwolves 31 51 .378 5 -1.83 92.8 102.9 105.4 R. Adelman (31-51) N. Pekovic (6.7)
2011-12 NBA Minnesota Timberwolves 26 40 .394 5 -1.83 93.3 104.3 106.6 R. Adelman (26-40) K. Love (10.0)
2010-11 NBA Minnesota Timberwolves 17 65 .207 5 -5.97 96.5 104.2 111.1 K. Rambis (17-65) K. Love (11.4)
2009-10 NBA Minnesota Timberwolves 15 67 .183 5 -9.06 96.1 101.7 111.6 K. Rambis (15-67) K. Love (4.9)
2008-09 NBA Minnesota Timberwolves 24 58 .293 4 -4.74 91.6 106.1 111.4 R. Wittman (4-15), K. McHale (20-43) K. Love (5.3)
Provided by Basketball-Reference.com: View Original Table
Generated 5/24/2014.

Love is a stat-stuffer for sure, but he hasn’t done much for the team. Are we done with Love as “our” guy? Do we realize that the value we can get back for Love could take our team in a better direction? My personal opinion is that Love brings a lot to the table but he isn’t a natural leader and is better suited as a No. 2 guy.

REPLACING LOVE 

The Wolves aren’t going to get a star back for Love. Other teams know the Wolves are desperate and aren’t going to give up the farm to acquire him. The Wolves want to get blue chip potential for Love in the form of a top draft pick. They’re hoping they can strike gold and draft a guy who can change the fortunes of the franchise for years to come.

Minnesota already has a solid nucleus in place. Imagine adding Andrew Wiggins to the mix at this point, as the stud wingman that Rubio loves to play with. Bring in Dave Joerger as the new coach on top of it and the Wolves will be right back on track for their first playoff appearance since KG left town.

So who should we be mad at here? Nobody, of course. Love wants to improve his situation and doesn’t see Minnesota as a viable place to win. If that’s how he feels, management should get rid of him and bring in players who want to be there. We’re not mad at you, Kevin. We’re just done with you.

Tags: Kevin Love Minnesota Timberwolves

comments powered by Disqus