H: 6' 9"|
W: 255 lbs
(28 Years Old)
|RSCI: 2||Agent: Jeff Schwartz |
High School: Lake Oswego
Hometown: Lake Oswego, OR
Drafted: Pick 5 in 2008 by Grizzlies
Best Case: David West
Worst Case: Sean May
|Year||Source||Height w/o Shoes||Height w/shoes||Weight||Wingspan||Standing Reach||Body Fat||No Step Vert||Max Vert|
|2008||NBA Pre-Draft Camp||6' 7.75"||6' 9.5"||255||6' 11.25"||8' 10"||12.9||29.5||35.0|
|Year||Source||Height w/o Shoes||Height w/shoes||Weight||Wingspan||Standing Reach||Body Fat||No Step Vert||Max Vert|
|2008||NBA Pre-Draft Camp||6' 7.75"||6' 9.5"||255||6' 11.25"||8' 10"||12.9||29.5||35.0|
Part One: Inside Scoring & Post Skills
"For all his skill on the low block, Love does run into some problems in the post, specifically when he’s going up against a longer defender. He is prone to having his shot blocked, and has trouble trying to score over bigger defenders. He doesn’t show much in terms of vertical explosiveness, being a mostly under the rim player. To his credit, he does a great job pursuing his own misses, as his motor never stops, and he’s often able to convert on his second effort."
- NCAA Weekly Performers--Freshman Edition, Part Two - 11/25/07
After spending just one season at UCLA, the Minnesota Timberwolves hoped Kevin Love would provide frontcourt toughness and another post scoring threat to compliment Al Jefferson's dominant inside game. Nearly finished with his first NBA season, Love has struggled in one-on-one post situations against much more athletic opponents; however, he excels when given the chance to out-position his man and utilize his high basketball IQ to score down low. According to Synergy Sports Technology, Kevin Love is converting 55% of his shot attempts around the rim, but just 37% of his post-up chances. This is a significant drop-off from last season at UCLA, where he finished 63% of his shots around the hoop, including 53% of his post possessions –an indication that Love’s critics did a good job projecting his weaknesses on the next level. As evidence, his 2-point percentages have dropped from an outstanding 61% to just 48% in the NBA, which ranks him in the middle of the pack amongst all power forwards.
One area of concern for the Timberwolves has been Love's inability to score against quality NBA post defenders, especially since he’s being asked to log such heavy minutes at the center position. In fact, the Wolves rarely feed Love on the block, as only 18% of his NBA possessions are coming in the form of post ups. Compare that with 33% of his offensive possessions last year at UCLA, and it becomes clear why Love's offensive numbers have been rather inconsistent this season. This lack of post touches has had a wider impact on his efficiency, decreasing his free throw attempts per game (9.2 per-40 to a still very solid 6.4 per game), something that hurts his scoring rate since he shoots about 80% from the charity stripe. Surprisingly, Love's tendency to play slightly off the block hasn't affected his offensive rebounding numbers since he moves well without the ball, attacks the glass with tenacity every chance he gets, and reads the ball extremely well off the rim.
In instances where he does catch the ball inside with his back to the basket, Love prefers to operate over his left shoulder nearly three times as often as his right, almost always relying on a baby hook shot over his defender. Due to his lack of explosiveness and athleticism, Love struggles to finish many post attempts, and he is extremely susceptible to having his shot blocked by longer, more athletic weak side defenders. When he's at his best inside, Love utilizes a variety of crafty moves and fakes to gain position over his defender, and is able to finish with either hand at the rim. As we’ve observed, the transition from college to the NBA is absolutely massive for young big men. Considering Love’s basketball IQ, we expect him to improve his effectiveness in the post and make the proper adjustments to steer away from getting his shot blocked as frequently as he does.
Part Two: Rebounding & Athleticism
"Love is also a dominant rebounder on both ends of the court, using his massive frame to establish outstanding position and showing excellent timing and instincts in tracking down boards. His strength allows him to pull rebounds away from the opposition, and he does a great job sealing out his man."
- NCAA Weekly Performers--Freshman Edition, Part Two - 11/25/07
Through just one professional season, Kevin love has proven one thing: he is already an elite NBA rebounder. By combining a terrific work ethic with an outstanding feel for cleaning the glass, Love ranks as one of the League's top rebounders in a variety of categories, including ranking #2 in offensive rebounding per-40 pace adjusted, and 5th in total rebounding. Although he lacks the vertical explosiveness most great rebounders possess, Kevin Love has an uncanny knack for out-positioning his opponent moments before a shot is released. In analyzing Love's game film, it becomes apparent that once he senses a shot will be fired, he almost always sprints to the backside glass to initiate contact, gain position, and snatch up any potential caroms. This quality contributes to his offensive rebounding prowess in particular, which has made a significant impact on his scoring numbers –accounting for an outlandish 25% of his offensive possessions, and providing his teams with plenty of easy looks at the hoop in turn. This percentage is right on par with his production last season at UCLA, where Love enjoyed a far more pronounced physical advantage over many of his competitors. It’s extremely impressive see him be able to translate his incredible rebounding skills to the NBA so soon already at the tender age of 20.
Love has also been exceptional on the defensive glass, boxing out his man on the release of the shot and maintaining contact until the ball is secured. He displays great timing when leaving his man to pursue the ball and great toughness in his efforts to secure it with both hands. By grabbing loose balls with both hands, Love is able to endure a lot of contact from the more athletic and physically imposing opponents his faces on a nightly basis.
Part Three: Shooting
"One of Love’s more notable strides as the season has gone on has been his three point shot, which he’s using much more frequently, and having good success with, hitting for 37% from deep. He also will occasionally use a shot fake from behind the arc that he follows up with a drive to the basket, but it’s not something he’s consistent with, as his quickness isn’t great and his ball-handling, while respectable, could still improve."
- NCAA Tournament Performers, Part One - 3/25/08
The Timberwolves had hoped Kevin Love would help space the floor and provide a solid pinch post scoring threat; however, his jump shot has been wildly inconsistent thus far. Throughout his rookie campaign, Love has been an ineffective shooter, connecting on just 37% (40/107) of his shots between 17 feet and the three-point line. Love has also struggled to adapt to the deeper NBA three point line, which has taken away a key component of his collegiate skill set. At UCLA last season, Love shot 35% from downtown, on over two attempts per game, compared to just 13% on 6 for 12 shooting this season. One reason for Love's shooting woes has been his inability to attack the rim off the dribble. Longer, more athletic defenders have been able to crowd Love when he faces up from mid-range without having to worry about him blowing by them and getting easy looks. He also seems to be settling
Mechanically, Love's jump shot has a slow, yet sound release when he's left unguarded, with excellent touch and terrific follow-through. Looking at most of his jumpers, it seems like his problems have more to do with shot-selection and range more than anything else really. As he continues to put the time into his jumpers, look for him to become more consistent in this area, particularly on pick and pop plays. Unless he’s making shots on a consistent basis, and being semi-capable of putting the ball on the floor and creating his own shot, Love won’t be anywhere near as effective an offensive player as he needs to be to stay on the floor next to Al Jefferson.
As we saw earlier this week, Love had a big impact on the game, though he still struggled with turnovers. Still, his fantastic long-distance passing is a site to see up close, and he finished the game with 4 assists as a result. On the glass, he used his strong body to push opposing players out of the way, and used his fantastic hands and touch inside to convert a number of offensive rebound attempts into baskets. Defensively, it's clear the rookie has some work to do. He must learn when to contest shots and rotate at the proper times on the defensive end of the floor, but he stay out of foul trouble throughout the game. On the offensive end, he again displayed nice skills both facing the basket and in the low post. Though he's not the most athletic player, his incredible basketball IQ allows him to get shots off in situations where players his size normally struggle. He has the tools to be a solid big man in the NBA at least, and could turn into much more than that in a couple seasons. His outlet passes in the second half were just a pleasure to watch.[Read Full Article]
Love struggled some defensively, but showed off inside and outside abilities on the offensive end in his NBA debut. He started the game facing the basket on the perimeter, and showed good form on his jumper and even drove to the hoop successfully a couple times. The rookie also showed tenacity on the offensive glass, using his perfect timing and strong body to collect a number of rebounds throughout the game. Defensively, the rookie must work on pick and roll defensive, where his reaction speed will be important at the NBA level. He does defend the post well enough, but his physical style led to a lot of cheap fouls throughout the day. With his high post and low post ability on offense, it looks like he will be a very good compliment to Al Jefferson.[Read Full Article]
[Read Full Article]
Reporter: What would you tell the Clippers to make your case for playing in LA?
Kevin Love: Well knowing the situation, I would be talking to Elton Brand, trying to get him to opt out of his contract (laughs). Other than that though, I mean they have Elton Brand already so I haven’t set up anything with the Clippers yet. But LA is a great place and it’s been great to me especially because of UCLA and the fan base I have there. With that 7th pick I feel like that would be a good opportunity for me as well; I could learn from Brand and play alongside Kaman, but we’ll just have to see.
Not written about extensively since the first weeks of the season, Kevin Love is someone who’s certainly overdue for an in-depth writeup, as he’s near the completion of what can only be described as a dominating freshman season, playing a key role on one of the country’s powerhouse teams, still alive in the hunt for a title. Love has made some adjustments to his game over the course of the season, and helped quell some of the doubts about his game, even if many still linger. Regardless, he just had one of his best performances this season in UCLA’s second round win over Texas A&M, where he scored 19 points, pulled in 11 rebounds, and blocked an uncharacteristic 7 shots, playing a huge role down the stretch in UCLA’s victory.
Love’s post game hasn’t changed very much over the course of the season, as it’s mostly based on establishing dominant position deep in the post by using his freakish strength, and then powering his way to the basket. He uses fakes very well down low to get past larger, more athletic defenders, and shows good touch around the rim and the ability to absorb contact with his massive frame. It’s also worth noting that Love appears to be doing a better job getting off the ground late in the season, undoubtedly being in better shape after a tough 36 games. Despite this, he still has problems getting his shot blocked, by both future NBA players like Devon Hardin and Brook Lopez, and by players on Mississippi Valley State University. In his most recent 10 games, which we charted, Love had his shot blocked 13 times.
In looking at the rest of his low post game, Love’s finesse moves have come along nicely as the season has gone on, as he goes to a right-handed hook shot fairly often now, which he has good success with. He’s a bit more inconsistent with his turnaround jumper, usually having to fade away dramatically to get it over defenders, but he was remarkably clutch with it against Texas A&M, hitting with it twice in the game’s final minutes. Love also is very good at getting to the free throw line, getting there 6.6 times per game, in just 29 minutes.
One of Love’s more notable strides as the season has gone on has been his three point shot, which he’s using much more frequently, and having good success with, hitting for 37% from deep. He also will occasionally use a shot fake from behind the arc that he follows up with a drive to the basket, but it’s not something he’s consistent with, as his quickness isn’t great and his ball-handling, while respectable, could still improve.
Love’s prowess as a passer on the offensive end is something that has been well publicized, especially with his outlet passes, which he throws with exceptional speed and accuracy. He’s also a good passer out of the post, though, making passes to fellow post players and cutters alike, showing good court vision and decision-making.
On the defensive end, Love plays a very smart game and is always hustling, showing his most prowess as a man-to-man defender in the post. Here, he holds excellent position and does a very good job of always keeping his hands up, getting a good deal of blocked shots when opposing players try to shoot over him. Most of his blocks come in this vein, as he doesn’t really have the athleticism to be much of a force as a help defender, even though he almost always makes the right rotations. While Love usually does well defending the post, he really only excels with players that try to go over or through him, showing problems against players with quick feet who will try to out-finesse him, which is concerning for those who project him as a power forward at the next level. For those who project him as a center, he may have problems defensively there as well, as many centers in the NBA will be able to shoot over him.
On the perimeter, Love hustles hard and shows a good stance on defense, but he often has to give up too much space to stay in front of his man, and this is definitely a concern at the next level, especially if he projects as a power forward. Love has problems with the pick-and-roll as well, not showing the quickness to consistently hedge and recover, despite his smart play.
Aside from intangibles, Love’s greatest strength would probably be his rebounding ability, something that is very likely to translate to the next level. He establishes excellent inside position, shows very good timing, and has a nonstop motor for pursuing loose boards. This is especially evident on his own misses, as he usually gets his own put-back when he isn’t able to score on the first try.
Love is very likely to declare for the draft this year, and he’s a likely lottery pick if he does, especially with the way he’s been playing in the postseason. He’s someone who will draw varied opinions as a prospect, ranging from surefire starter to possible role player, due to the many questions surrounding how his size and athleticism will affect him at the next level. His ability to spot up from deep and his excellent rebounding skills are two things that are very likely to translate, but what position he will defend and whether he’ll be able to score inside with near the same efficiency as he did in college is in question, especially considering he’ll be even more prone to having his shot blocked as a pro. On the positive side, Love is a coach’s dream in terms of every intangible, he continues to defy the odds against him by those who say what he can and can’t do, and he’s definitely not at his athletic peak, as he probably could stand to lose another 20-25 pounds still. The fact that he hasn’t done so already, though, is a little bit baffling.
One of the most talked about freshman heading into this season, Kevin Love is already making his presence felt in the college ranks. The 6’10 (possibly 6’9 or 6’8) bruiser has gotten off to a quick start, showing off his tenacious and fundamentally sound game. The extremely skilled big man probably won’t have many problems imposing his will in the NCAA, though his athleticism has many doubting how his game will translate to the pros.
Love does most of his damage in the painted area, where he establishes tremendous post position with relative ease. Love’s post game looks fairly simple, but he shows a great understanding of countermoves and fakes, using them to get off high-percentage shots very close to the basket. Love has excellent hands for catching entry passes and shows a very good touch around the rim, along with the ability to take contact and not have his shot altered. Love has also shown off a hook shot on occasion, but for the most part works within five feet of the basket on fairly straightforward moves.
For all his skill on the low block, Love does run into some problems in the post, specifically when he’s going up against a longer defender. He is prone to having his shot blocked, and has trouble trying to score over bigger defenders. He doesn’t show much in terms of vertical explosiveness, being a mostly under the rim player. To his credit, he does a great job pursuing his own misses, as his motor never stops, and he’s often able to convert on his second effort. Love also runs into some trouble when a guard drops down to double team, as he isn’t always very quick with his moves, and can leave the ball unprotected.
Love has also shown flashes of a face-up game, but he’s had limited success with it thus far, looking sloppy at times while dribbling into turnovers. His perimeter game is pretty solid, though, as he has a formidable spot-up jumper with range out to the college three-point line, showing good mechanics and effectiveness with his shot.
In addition to his post offense, Love is also a dominant rebounder on both ends of the court, using his massive frame to establish outstanding position and showing excellent timing and instincts in tracking down boards. His strength allows him to pull rebounds away from the opposition, and he does a great job sealing out his man. Love also shows prowess with his passing, specifically on outlets, where his great upper body strength allows him to throw fast and precise chest passes the length of the court with ease. Love also does a pretty good job passing out of the post.
Defensively, Love shows a very good understanding of team defense and defending the pick-and-roll, but his lack of quickness prevents him from really excelling on this end of the floor. On pick-and-rolls, he’s often slow to get back to his man after hedging the ball-handler, and Love doesn’t possess the vertical explosiveness to be a factor as a help defender in the paint. Love hasn’t been exploited much on the perimeter yet in man defense, but his lateral quickness is noticeably lacking and he should have some match-up problems over the course of the season. In the post, he shows a good fundamental base and holds his position well, but longer players should be able to shoot over him.
Love is clearly going to be a dominant college player for as long as he chooses to remain in college, which will likely be one season, but there are serious doubts about how his proficiency will translate to the pro level. There really aren’t many players at his height with his lack of athleticism in the pros, and it’s tough to guess how high in the draft a team will be willing to take a chance on him. His good perimeter shot will definitely help ease his transition to the pros, as will his excellent rebounding ability, but he will have trouble in other areas. Love would do himself well to continue shedding weight to try and maximize his physical potential. Love could see himself drafted in the lottery as Sean May was three years ago, but it’s no guarantee.
Love has shown a skill level that is absolutely unheard of amongst big men in the college ranks—knocking down NBA 3-pointers with ease, putting the ball on the floor with either hand, using pump-fakes, spin-moves, jump-stops and creating his own shot with fantastic footwork. He's rebounding the ball well, throwing beautiful outlet passes, contesting shots around the basket, and even coming up with a few blocks on occasion.
Love's body looks better and better every time we see him, as he's shed a good amount of weight and is now probably only 10 pounds or so away from being in optimal shape. He can't necessarily be called an athletic player, but playing next to or going up against physically gifted big men like Brook Lopez, Steven Hill and Robert Dozier, he has looked absolutely fine and has not had a problem doing whatever he wants out on the floor.
In the voluntary workout in between sessions he decided to show up for, Love looked just as impressive. This setting is tailor made to show off his terrific skill-level and fundamentals—and he did a great job draining shot after shot, kissing 15 footers off the glass after a sweet pivot move, conducting step-back moves, turnarounds, and much more. He's really making an excellent case for himself to be considered a one and done lottery prospect with what he's showing so far. He'll be ready to deliver at the collegiate level from day one.
If you have yet to take in Kevin Love, checking out a replay of the Hoop Summit should give you a pretty good feel for what he will bring to the table for Ben Howland and UCLA this fall. He displayed just about everything that has earned him the top spot in many analysts’ Top 100 lists, from the advanced skill level and the immense strength, to the near-superhuman feel for the game. In short, the Bruins are getting an All-American, the type of all-around presence that is more than capable of shouldering the load on a national championship run – even as a freshman.
Love started the game a bit quietly, missing a bunny around the rim and struggling to get touches in a very guard-oriented offense (for the US team at least). He made his first impression with a swished 3-pointer from the wing, showing that defenders will have to respect his offense out on the perimeter. That just isn’t fair at the college level, given how advanced Love’s post game is. It seems like the Oregon native practically kills an opposing big man with a pump fake and lightning quick explosion to the basket, and in this game the unlucky victim was FSU-bound Solomon Alabi. The recovery was downright vicious, with Love tossing Alabi the like a rag doll with his back, and Alabi nearly landing on his head. He would also show deft post scoring touch in the lane on several occasions in the second half.
No game would be complete without a handful of patented outlet passes, and Love delivered in that regard. He turned International made baskets into breakaway dunks on two separate occasions, once hitting OJ Mayo and connecting with Jerryd Bayless on another. So while Love isn’t the most athletic player out there, between the pump fakes and the full-court passes, expect to see as many Kevin Love highlights as any player in the country next year.
Kevin Love doesn’t have the NBA upside of a Rose, Mayo or Beasley, but people projecting him as an elite prospect at the college level only might be missing the mark a little. He may never be a superstar, but he might be ready to contribute for a team right now – in the NBA playoffs. He appears to have slimmed down slightly and added a bit more hop to his step, and is too complete a player not to have a long career in the NBA.
2007-2008 Outlook: As big an impact as Derrick Rose is going to have at Memphis, 07-08 could be the year of Love. He steps into the perfect situation, surrounded by veterans that know how to win. While UCLA does lose the services of Arron Afflalo, every other important rotation player is projected to return and Love should be the go-to guy from day one. This is another freshman who has the chance to cut down the nets a year from now.
Lack of athleticism, ideal height, and quickness are criticisms that the big man has faced over the years, yet he continues to prove everyone wrong at every single stage with his incredibly productive play. The Roundball was no different story, as he proved to be easily the most dominant big man on either team. Love showed off his amazing passing ability not only on outlets, but by hitting cutters left and right when double teamed on the low blocks. His motor just did not stop, evidenced by his corralling of a game high 16 rebounds and tying for a game high with 6 blocked shots. The Oregon standout showed off his emerging perimeter game, drilling several jumpers from just inside of the three point line. He also had the best hands in the game easily, catching and finishing everything that he touched inside of the paint.
While many were skeptical of Kevin’s ability to dominate on the next level, he showed in his final high school game that he will be able to do this against anyone in the country, as he tore uber freak DeAndre Jordan to shreds. He is finally getting his body into better shape, and is a vastly underrated athlete in terms of leaping ability. Look for Love to step in right away and make a huge impact at UCLA, giving them a formidable inside presence while also providing a “one man fast break” with his abnormal ability to throw an outlet pass.
Love continued his dominance inside, both rebounding the ball and scoring on the blocks. He showed the ability to consistently score down low versus taller, more athletic defenders via a plethora of turnaround jumpers out of the post, with the large majority kissing the glass before they went through the net. The Oregon native was able to get his shot up over athletic marvel DeAndre Jordan through a series of shot fakes that often drew the Texas big man up in the air, resulting in Love drawing a subsequent foul call. With each passing all-star game and practice, it is becoming more and more evident that Kevin will succeed as a Bruin, despite his athletic deficiencies.[Read Full Article]
Oregon big man UCLA has continued to quietly be one of the top performers throughout all of the high school all-star games, despite his lack of high flying dunks or blocked shots that so many of the other big men prospects offer. He did an excellent job rebounding the ball and throwing his storied outlet passes, starting a fast break before the guard has even received the ball. He was great shooting the ball from 17 feet and in, showing the potential to play as more of a face the basket player for the Bruins if need be. Of course he was a bit outmatched athletically by the freak athlete big men in the game, but this is a challenge that Love has constantly faced (and conquered) throughout his career, so it shouldn’t be a problem by the time he hit’s the hardwood at UCLA.[Read Full Article]
Love brought his old school approach to the McDonald’s All America Game, doing nothing spectacular but doing all of the little things that you need a big man to do to lead you to victory. He started the fast break numerous times with his abnormal outlet passes, which he can fire to half court from under the basket with a simple flick of the wrist. This allowed Derrick Rose to get out in transition and obtain many of the 5 assists that he finished with. Rose owes Mr. Love a big thank you for this, and if Darren Collison decides to stick around Westwood for another year, he will surely be thanking Love after every single game once he sees his assist numbers jump the way they should.
The gritty play that the Oregon native is known for was on the big screen Wednesday, as he used his bullish strength to overpower some pretty physical big men in their own right, in J.J. Hickson and Patrick Patterson. He used his body quite well around the basket in order to get his shot up over the longer, more athletic post players that the East team had to offer. He even displayed his outside shooting ability by converting on a three point attempt, and looking quite fluid in doing so. Kevin then went on to make countless touch catches on the fast break, converting long lead passes by Derrick Rose into two points on two separate occasions.
What sets Love apart from players such as Michael Beasley, O.J. Mayo, or Derrick Rose is that he does not possess the immense upside that that trio does. His game seems to be getting close to peaking out, and many question how much better he will be able to get by the time it is all said and done. While he is an underrated leaper, Kevin is a bit slow on the floor and struggles guarding face the basket power forwards quite frequently. Athleticism and weight control are two issues that have arisen constantly with Love over the years, and will ultimately be crucial in where he gets picked in the NBA Draft.
The McDonald’s game was not quite the setting that a player of Love’s style of play thrives in. He is much better in the half court set, where he can utilize his size and post moves much better. The Nike Hoop Summit will serve as his opportunity to prove what he can really do on the court, as he will be matched up with intriguing and athletic big men prospects Solomon Alabi, Alexis Ajinca, and Giorgi Shermadini.
Love was able to start at least 10 fast breaks on the day through his abnormal ability to throw a perfect outlet pass. He made things so much easier for Derrick Rose by getting him the ball at half court from a defensive rebound, that the Lake Oswego stud didn’t even have to run into the backcourt half of the time. He showed outstanding shooting ability from the perimeter, leaving open the possibility that he could be used in some “pick and pop” sets in once he hits Westwood. Cole Aldrich did get the best of Kevin on the defensive end today, as Aldrich has been absolutely unconscious from the field shooting the ball and has consistently made contested shots that most 6’11 guys just aren’t supposed to make. It wasn’t so much that Love played bad defense, as he did force Aldrich into some tough shots, but rather the fact that Cole just seemed to make everything he put up out there on the floor.[Read Full Article]
Love played his atypical game in the practice session, throwing outstanding outlet passes and being a downright bull inside. He was outstanding rebounding the ball and starting the break, while also knocking down a few perimeter jump shots. Kevin struggled a bit defensively on Cole Aldrich, who was absolutely on fire. Nothing new came out of Love Sunday, although he did look even trimmer then the last time we saw him play last month, versus Kyle Singler.[Read Full Article]
Watching elite power forward prospect Kevin Love play is quite the treat. His 6’9, 260 pound frame certainly helps out quite a bit, but some of the things the Oregon native does on the court defy explanation.
On his way to a 41-point outburst, Love dazzled the crowd with an array of highlight-reel passes, powerful dunks, and feathery soft touch from almost every area of the court as Lake Oswego defeated Osseo 74-58.
Osseo managed to keep within striking distance most of the way, but there was little doubt of the outcome in this one. Love did what he wanted to do, when he wanted to do it. There were several of his trademark passes, a beautiful 3-point make, and plenty of finishing through contact around the basket.
But what really impressed the crowd were numerous powerful dunks, two of which came off the dribble when facing the basket in the half court. So many in the stands probably left raving about his athleticism and powerful finishing ability, his freakish skill and feel for the game may have gone overlooked by many.
Love’s 41 points came on 11-21 from the floor, 18-22 from the line, and 1-2 from beyond the arc. In addition scoring at will, Love grabbed 14 rebounds and handed out 7 assists.
His understanding of how to use contact, space, and timing to his advantage is more advanced than plenty of veteran NBA big men. There isn’t a player at any level who can throw outlet passes quite like Love.
Is it any surprise that Love is the son of a former pro? That would be Stan Love, former Oregon Duck standout and LA Laker in the 70’s.
“My dad really put the ball in my hands and kept my game strong. I just kept working, and I was blessed with a gift to play basketball With the size I was blessed as well, it just comes together and fits really well,” said Love.
Considering what Ben Howland and the Bruins are accomplishing at the moment without a star big man, just how absurdly good can UCLA be with a post threat like Love added to the mix?
The Oregon native put on yet another pair of dominating performances on Sunday, leading the So Cal All-Stars to victories over the Michigan Hurricanes and D1 Greyhounds. He showed fans again why he’s so unstoppable in the post, as he scored virtually every time he received the ball in the paint. Love showed downright amazing hands, catching every pass thrown to him and rebounding the ball better then any player in camp thusfar. He displayed better athleticism then most give him credit for, slamming down quite a few alley-oops with ease and blocking shots against the super athletic D1.
Kevin’s most impressive skill shown on Sunday however was his passing. While many referred to Dee Brown as a “One Man Fast Break,” Love fits the term even better. His outlet passing ability is like that of no other big man that we’ve seen in recent years. The future McDonald’s All American is able to grab a tough rebound, turn, and quickly outlet the ball 40 feet ahead of him to start the break. Brandon Jennings benefitted from this more then anyone, as he was able to constantly have 3-on-1 and 3-on-2 situations solely off of Love’s outlet passes. The punishing big man also showed some nifty interior passing, and even threw an alley-oop to the 6'2 Jennings on one of the first plays of the game against the D1 Greyhounds.
On the negative side, the top five recruit struggled a bit against more athletic players, despite his lofty numbers. Justin Anyijong (a long, athletic, but very raw big man from the Michigan Hurricanes) really was able to alter quite a few of Love’s shots, seemingly making him uncomfortable for quite some time there. This raises questions as to how Kevin will fare at the college level against long, athletic big men his own size. He did pick it up however, and wound up finishing with 29 points and 12 rebounds in a win over the Hurricanes.
It is going to be very interesting to see how Love fits in at UCLA in 07. He is seemingly the perfect fit at the moment to play along side Darren Collison, Aaron Afflalo, and Luc Richard Mbah A Moute. The PAC-10 style of play is quite fast, and Kevin should be able to continue to be the “One Man Fast Break” he is at the high school level with his amazing outlet passes. While we will most likely see Love in the NBA some day, we may have to wait a little bit longer due to the fact that he doesn’t quite have the potential of many of his peers, although he is far more talented at the moment.
If you would prefer an immediate impact from your big man prospect, look no further than SoCal low block beast Kevin Love. Simply put, Love’s feel for how to operate in the immediate vicinity of the basket is nothing short of staggering. Most professional big men never reach the his current level of polish. Love’s incredibly soft hands allow him to dominate the glass and convert at a very high rate around the rim. He understands how to create space and time his moves, and an overmatched Michigan Hurricane frontcourt had no chance to slow him down today. He scored nearly every time he touched the ball, in a ruthlessly efficient manner. If his teammates had looked for him with more regularity, he could have gone for 40. His much-ballyhooed ability to throw the outlet pass was on full display, though he is a threat to find the open man in any situation. Love’s impact at the college level is undeniable. He is going to be a star from the day he steps onto the court.
However, his professional upside might not be quite as high. Love isn’t overly athletic, and could probably improve his conditioning some. He is probably a legit 6'9, but isn’t going to be a shot blocking presence at the professional level. Love has a nice wide frame, but whether he can use it to dominate at the NBA level remains to be seen. Tomorrow’s matchup against Bill Walker, Alex Tyus, and the ultra-athletic D1 Greyhounds should be very telling in terms of Kevin Love’s bottom line pro potential.