Breakout season makes Love an award candidate

  • Article by: KENT YOUNGBLOOD , Star Tribune
  • Updated: April 8, 2011 - 11:30 PM

Even if he shuts it down for the season, his body of work puts him on the short list for NBA Most Improved.


While racking up a string of double-doubles, Wolves forward Kevin Love also raised his scoring, shooting and rebounding numbers.

Photo: Marlin Levison, Star Tribune

CameraStar Tribune photo galleries

Cameraview larger

We might have seen the last of Kevin Love on the court this spring. But Love might not be done being honored for his breakout season.

Love, who has a strained groin, has missed six of the past eight games. Neither he nor center Darko Milicic (ankle) practiced Friday. Both traveled with the team to Denver, but both are listed as doubtful for the game Saturday against the Nuggets.

After talking with Love, it sounded as though he's unlikely to play.

"I don't think, as of right now, I could play," he said about playing Saturday. "I don't think I'll play. Unless something happens miraculously, it heals up, I won't be playing."

Love also said that if he doesn't play in Denver he would think seriously about not playing in the final two games as well.

"We've been working every day, still keeping in shape, on the bike, lifting weights," he said. "But it's just tough right now. I won't want to do anything to reaggravate it."

So Love might have put the final touches on his third season, and on his application for the NBA's Most Improved Player award. In 73 games, Love has averaged 20.2 points and 15.2 rebounds. He is a 47 percent shooter overall, 41.7 percent on three-pointers.

His outside shooting combined with his rebounding make him one of the league's unique players. There are other strong candidates for the award -- Derrick Rose, LaMarcus Aldridge, Russell Westbrook, Dorell Wright, Kris Humphries and Kyle Lowry should be in the mix. But Love deserves to be in that conversation. He has increased his scoring by 6.2 points per game over the 2009-10 season (sixth-best improvement in the league), increased his rebounding by 4.4 per game (second-biggest improvement) and improved his three-point shooting by 8.9 percent (seventh-biggest improvement).

"He made dramatic improvement, not only in rebounding but his development in his back-to-the-basket game," Wolves coach Kurt Rambis said. "And his facing-the-basket game."

Love worked hard over the offseason to improve, particularly his three-point shooting, which Rambis called Love's biggest achievement.

Love, though, is ambivalent about the Most Improved Player award. To him, it would suggest that his 2009-10 season wasn't very good.

"I thought I was a pretty good player before," he said. "But I feel I have improved a lot this year. I definitely put in the work and effort to get better, and I'm going to continue to do that.

Both Love and Rambis agreed that Love's No. 1 priority for improvement this summer will be on defense. Love said he plans on extensive 1-on-1 workouts against opponents of varying size to help him in that area.

Theus interviews

Wolves assistant Reggie Theus has had a long week.

There were back-to-back games Tuesday and Wednesday. Thursday he flew to Las Vegas for a 5 1/2-hour interview for the coaching vacancy at UNLV. He took the red-eye back to the Twin Cities so he could be at practice Friday.

Many reports have Theus, along with BYU associate head coach Dave Rice, St. John's assistant Mike Dunlap and former Oregon and St. Mary's coach Ernie Kent as frontrunners for the job. UNLV athletic director Jim Livengood hopes to make a decision by Sunday.

"I thought it was a very solid, in-depth interview," Theus said. "Everybody wants to have an opportunity to try to coach your alma mater. Actually, when I first started coaching, I only had one job in mind, and that was UNLV."

  • related content

  • Gameday: Wolves at Denver

    Saturday April 9, 2011

    Preview: The Wolves are running out of time to end their losing streak, which stands at 12 games; they are tied with the Cleveland Cavaliers for the worst record in...

  • get related content delivered to your inbox

  • manage my email subscriptions


Oakland - LP: D. Otero 8 FINAL
Kansas City - WP: J. Frasor 9
Minnesota 10/2/14 7:25 PM
Green Bay
Buffalo 10/5/14 12:00 PM
Chicago 10/5/14 12:00 PM
Cleveland 10/5/14 12:00 PM
St. Louis 10/5/14 12:00 PM
Atlanta 10/5/14 12:00 PM
NY Giants
Tampa Bay 10/5/14 12:00 PM
New Orleans
Houston 10/5/14 12:00 PM
Baltimore 10/5/14 12:00 PM
Pittsburgh 10/5/14 12:00 PM
Arizona 10/5/14 3:05 PM
Kansas City 10/5/14 3:25 PM
San Francisco
NY Jets 10/5/14 3:25 PM
San Diego
Cincinnati 10/5/14 7:30 PM
New England
Seattle 10/6/14 7:30 PM
NY Islanders 5 FINAL
Boston 3
NY Rangers 2 FINAL
Philadelphia 4
Ottawa 1 FINAL
Winnipeg 2
Carolina 1 FINAL
St. Louis 3
Tampa Bay 5 FINAL
Dallas 1
Colorado 0 FINAL
Calgary 2
Los Angeles 4 FINAL
San Jose 1
Fla Atlantic 10/2/14 6:00 PM
UCF 10/2/14 6:00 PM
Arizona 10/2/14 9:30 PM
(2) Oregon
Louisville 10/3/14 6:00 PM
San Diego St 10/3/14 9:00 PM
Fresno State
Utah State 10/3/14 9:15 PM
(18) BYU
(6) Texas A&M 10/4/14 11:00 AM
(12) Miss State
Ball State 10/4/14 11:00 AM
Iowa State 10/4/14 11:00 AM
(21) Oklahoma State
Marshall 10/4/14 11:00 AM
Old Dominion
Southern Miss 10/4/14 11:00 AM
Middle Tennessee
(20) Ohio State 10/4/14 11:00 AM
Purdue 10/4/14 11:00 AM
Florida 10/4/14 11:00 AM
SMU 10/4/14 11:00 AM
(22) East Carolina
Virginia Tech 10/4/14 11:30 AM
North Carolina
Eastern Mich 10/4/14 1:00 PM
North Texas 10/4/14 1:30 PM
Massachusetts 10/4/14 1:30 PM
Tulsa 10/4/14 2:00 PM
Colorado State
New Mexico 10/4/14 2:30 PM
TX-San Antonio
(3) Alabama 10/4/14 2:30 PM
(11) Ole Miss
(14) Stanford 10/4/14 2:30 PM
(9) Notre Dame
(17) Wisconsin 10/4/14 2:30 PM
Navy 10/4/14 2:30 PM
Air Force
(7) Baylor 10/4/14 2:30 PM
(4) Oklahoma 10/4/14 2:30 PM
(25) TCU
Wake Forest 10/4/14 2:30 PM
(1) Florida State
NC State 10/4/14 2:30 PM
Buffalo 10/4/14 2:30 PM
Bowling Green
Ohio U 10/4/14 2:30 PM
Central Mich
Oregon State 10/4/14 3:00 PM
Vanderbilt 10/4/14 3:00 PM
(13) Georgia
Kansas 10/4/14 3:00 PM
West Virginia
Kent State 10/4/14 4:00 PM
Northern Ill
South Alabama 10/4/14 5:00 PM
Appalachian St
Texas-El Paso 10/4/14 6:00 PM
Louisiana Tech
(15) LSU 10/4/14 6:00 PM
(5) Auburn
UAB 10/4/14 6:00 PM
Western Ky
Texas Tech 10/4/14 6:00 PM
(23) Kansas State
Michigan 10/4/14 6:00 PM
Hawaii 10/4/14 6:00 PM
Toledo 10/4/14 6:00 PM
Western Mich
ULM 10/4/14 6:00 PM
Arkansas State
Georgia State 10/4/14 6:00 PM
Idaho 10/4/14 6:00 PM
Texas State
Memphis 10/4/14 6:00 PM
Arizona State 10/4/14 6:30 PM
(16) USC
So Carolina 10/4/14 6:30 PM
Pittsburgh 10/4/14 6:30 PM
Miami-Florida 10/4/14 6:30 PM
Georgia Tech
(19) Nebraska 10/4/14 7:00 PM
(10) Michigan State
UNLV 10/4/14 7:00 PM
San Jose St
Ga Southern 10/4/14 7:00 PM
New Mexico St
California 10/4/14 9:30 PM
Washington St
Utah 10/4/14 9:30 PM
(8) UCLA
Boise State 10/4/14 9:30 PM
Winnipeg 10/3/14 6:00 PM
Calgary 10/3/14 9:00 PM
Edmonton 10/4/14 3:00 PM
Brt Columbia 10/4/14 6:00 PM
Connect with twitterConnect with facebookConnect with Google+Connect with PinterestConnect with PinterestConnect with RssfeedConnect with email newsletters





question of the day

Poll: Which struggling team is in the worst shape?

Weekly Question