Page 2 of 2 Previous

Continued: Love's skills at 'stretch forward' part of NBA trend

  • Article by: JERRY ZGODA , Star Tribune
  • Last update: February 15, 2014 - 11:59 PM

“They were called soft,” McHale said.

In his first draft as the Wolves basketball boss, McHale coincidentally selected in 1995 a teenager directly out of high school named Garnett, who helped transform the position as McHale knew it.

“The Karl Malone-type power forwards don’t really exist much anymore,” McHale said. “Garnett and Nowitzki had a huge part in that. They started playing way on the perimeter and they got hard to guard.”

Thinking outside the block

Dallas fans booed on draft night 1998 when their team swung a deal to acquire a tall, skinny German prospect whom Milwaukee selected ninth overall. The guy whose name most of them had never heard went on to revolutionize his position, not to mention bring the city an NBA title in 2011 on his way someday to the Basketball Hall of Fame.

Creative thinker Don Nelson coached the Mavericks when Nowitzki arrived in Dallas and Nowitzki calls a man who became, and remains, the NBA’s winningest coach “an offensive genius” and calls him responsible for it all.

“If I had gone to any other system, I don’t know if I would have turned out that way,” Nowitzki said. “They probably would have sent me to the weight room when I first got there, had me lift and put on 20 pounds and I’d be a lot different player than I am now. Nellie gave me that freedom to shoot threes. I don’t think any coach would have wanted to see that 15, 16 years ago.”

Nelson is the coach whose strategies popularized the notion of the “point forward” when he used forward Marques Johnson and Paul Pressey to run Milwaukee’s offense in the 1980s. A decade later at Golden State, he switched Chris Mullin from shooting guard to small forward, a move that sped the game by essentially using a three-guard offense. In the process, Nelson transformed Mullin’s career, just as he would later do in Dallas with Nowitzki.

“When I first got into the league, most of the 4s and 5s [power forwards and centers] were back-to-the-basket players,” Nowitzki said. “Now it’s more a movement game. Everybody can run and finish and move. The game has definitely changed and evolved at the big spots. It has been fun to watch.”

Love grew up admiring Nowitzki’s pure shooting, Garnett’s fadeaway 15-footer and Duncan’s banked shot and always envisioned himself as a player equally effective inside and out, even if his high school coach played him down on the block. At UCLA, coach UCLA Ben Howland asked him to play center and rebound, and his first two Wolves coaches (Randy Wittman, Kurt Rambis) didn’t fully envision the unique player he has become.

“I always knew I was able to shoot the ball,” said Love, who credits recent summers working out with pals Russell Westbrook, Kevin Durant and Derrick Rose for flourishes such as a step-back jumper he has added to his game.

When asked what the NBA will look like when he retires in another decade or more, Love shrugs and wonders who — or what — will be the next manifestation in a game that seemingly grows smaller and more mobile by the year.

“Now that they’ve taken centers off the All-Star ballot, guys who play with their back to the basket are kind of a dying breed,” Love said.

Ever the old-school power forward, McHale holds out hope that the rise of the stretch-4 forward is only a passing phase.

“The game’s ever evolving, but it’ll get back to that,” McHale said. “They’ll be two big, legitimate 6-11, 265-pound power forwards again who can move their feet a little bit and they’ll beat the hell out of all these guys who like to stretch it out and everybody will go, ‘We need a little bigger guy.’ It comes and it goes.”

 

  • related content

  • Love's night in three-point contest is short-lived

    Sunday February 16, 2014

    The Wolves All-Star exited the three-point contest quickly, as the first shooter of the first round.

  • Chart: Evolution of the power forward

    Saturday February 15, 2014

    Evolution of the power forwardA chronological look at power forwards with Minnesota ties tells the story of the evolution of...

  • Love's night in three-point contest is short-lived

    Sunday February 16, 2014

    The Wolves All-Star exited the three-point contest quickly, as the first shooter of the first round.

  • Kevin Love rebounded the ball in the second half during an NBA game between the Timberwolves and the L.A. Lakers at Target Center on Tuesday, February 4, 2014.

  • Flip Saunders was a coach and not a general manager when Kevin Love joined the Wolves, but he continues to watch Love rise.

  • nba all-star game 7 p.m. today • New Orleans • TNT

  • get related content delivered to your inbox

  • manage my email subscriptions

ADVERTISEMENT

NY Yankees - LP: M. Pineda 0 FINAL
Toronto - WP: D. Hutchison 2
Detroit - LP: M. Scherzer 3 FINAL
Chicago WSox - WP: C. Sale 6
Chicago Cubs - WP: F. Doubront 5 FINAL
St. Louis - LP: J. Masterson 1
Cincinnati - LP: A. Simon 2 FINAL
Pittsburgh - WP: V. Worley 3
Minnesota - LP: J. Burton 2 FINAL
Baltimore - WP: A. Miller 3
Philadelphia - WP: J. Williams 7 FINAL
NY Mets - LP: B. Colon 2
Miami - WP: J. Cosart 4 FINAL
Atlanta - LP: A. Harang 0
Boston - LP: A. Webster 0 FINAL
Tampa Bay - WP: J. Odorizzi 7
Cleveland - WP: J. Tomlin 3 FINAL
Kansas City - LP: S. Downs 2
Detroit - WP: K. Ryan 8 FINAL
Chicago WSox - LP: C. Bassitt 4
Texas - LP: P. Klein 0 FINAL
Houston - WP: S. Feldman 2
Colorado - WP: T. Matzek 2 FINAL
Arizona - LP: V. Nuno 0
Chicago Cubs - LP: T. Wada 2 FINAL
St. Louis - WP: M. Gonzales 13
Los Angeles - LP: J. Wright 1 FINAL
San Diego - WP: T. Stauffer 2
Milwaukee - LP: M. Fiers 1 FINAL
San Francisco - WP: J. Peavy 3
Oakland - LP: J. Samardzija 0 FINAL
LA Angels - WP: Y. Herrera 2
Washington - WP: S. Strasburg 3 FINAL
Seattle - LP: R. Elias 1
Green Bay 9/4/14 7:30 PM
Seattle
BYU 35 FINAL
Connecticut 10
(6) Jacksonville St 7 FINAL
(8) Michigan State 45
Bowling Green 31 FINAL
Western Ky 59
TX-San Antonio 27 FINAL
Houston 7
Colorado State 31 FINAL
Colorado 17
UNLV 13 FINAL
Arizona 58
Penn State 26 FINAL
UCF 24
Troy 10 FINAL
UAB 48
(7) UCLA 28 FINAL
Virginia 20
Western Mich 34 FINAL
Purdue 43
(5) Ohio State 34 FINAL
Navy 17
Appalachian St 14 FINAL
Michigan 52
Ga Southern 23 FINAL
NC State 24
Boston College 30 FINAL
Massachusetts 7
West Virginia 23 FINAL
(2) Alabama 33
Rice 17 FINAL
(17) Notre Dame 48
(10) South Dakota St 18 FINAL
(24) Missouri 38
Fla Atlantic 7 FINAL
(22) Nebraska 55
California 31 FINAL
Northwestern 24
Marshall 42 FINAL
Miami-Ohio 27
UC Davis 0 FINAL
(11) Stanford 45
Arkansas 21 FINAL
(6) Auburn 45
(16) Clemson 21 FINAL
(12) Georgia 45
Liberty 29 FINAL
(23) North Carolina 56
Ohio U 17 FINAL
Kent State 14
Louisiana Tech 16 FINAL
(4) Oklahoma 48
Stephen F Austin 16 FINAL
(20) Kansas State 55
Fresno State 13 FINAL
(15) USC 52
Southern Miss 0 FINAL
Miss State 49
Texas-El Paso 31 FINAL
New Mexico 24
North Texas 7 FINAL
Texas 38
(1) Florida State 37 FINAL
Oklahoma State 31
(14) Wisconsin 24 FINAL
(13) LSU 28
Idaho 0 Postponed
Florida 0
South Dakota 13 FINAL
(3) Oregon 62
(25) Washington 17 FINAL
Hawaii 16
Utah State 6:00 PM
Tennessee
SMU 6:30 PM
(10) Baylor
Miami-Florida 9/1/14 7:00 PM
Louisville
Arizona 9/4/14 7:00 PM
TX-San Antonio
Pittsburgh 9/5/14 6:00 PM
Boston College
Washington St 9/5/14 9:30 PM
Nevada
SMU 9/6/14 11:00 AM
North Texas
Fla Atlantic 9/6/14 11:00 AM
(2) Alabama
Buffalo 9/6/14 11:00 AM
Army
(24) Missouri 9/6/14 11:00 AM
Toledo
Arkansas State 9/6/14 11:00 AM
Tennessee
(8) McNeese State 9/6/14 11:00 AM
(22) Nebraska
Central Mich 9/6/14 11:00 AM
Purdue
Akron 9/6/14 11:00 AM
Penn State
Western Ill 9/6/14 11:00 AM
(14) Wisconsin
(20) Kansas State 9/6/14 11:00 AM
Iowa State
(4) Oklahoma 9/6/14 11:00 AM
Tulsa
Western Ky 9/6/14 11:00 AM
Illinois
SC State 9/6/14 11:30 AM
(16) Clemson
Navy 9/6/14 12:00 PM
Temple
UAB 9/6/14 1:00 PM
Miss State
South Alabama 9/6/14 1:00 PM
Kent State
New Mexico St 9/6/14 1:00 PM
Georgia State
Colorado 9/6/14 2:00 PM
Massachusetts
Fresno State 9/6/14 2:00 PM
Utah
(1) Eastern Wash 9/6/14 2:00 PM
(25) Washington
(15) USC 9/6/14 2:30 PM
(11) Stanford
Ohio U 9/6/14 2:30 PM
Kentucky
Middle Tennessee 9/6/14 2:30 PM
Minnesota
Northern Ill 9/6/14 2:30 PM
Northwestern
Missouri State 9/6/14 2:30 PM
Oklahoma State
Ball State 9/6/14 2:30 PM
Iowa
Maryland 9/6/14 2:30 PM
So Florida
Eastern Mich 9/6/14 3:00 PM
Florida
Georgia Tech 9/6/14 3:00 PM
Tulane
(18) Ole Miss 9/6/14 3:30 PM
Vanderbilt
Old Dominion 9/6/14 5:00 PM
NC State
(8) Michigan State 9/6/14 5:30 PM
(3) Oregon
(19) Arizona State 9/6/14 6:00 PM
New Mexico
Louisiana Tech 9/6/14 6:00 PM
Louisiana
San Jose St 9/6/14 6:00 PM
(6) Auburn
East Carolina 9/6/14 6:00 PM
(9) So Carolina
Duke 9/6/14 6:00 PM
Troy
Idaho 9/6/14 6:00 PM
ULM
(17) Sam Houston St 9/6/14 6:30 PM
(13) LSU
Michigan 9/6/14 6:30 PM
(17) Notre Dame
Lamar 9/6/14 6:30 PM
(21) Texas A&M
Northwestern St 9/6/14 6:30 PM
(10) Baylor
BYU 9/6/14 6:30 PM
Texas
Citadel 9/6/14 6:30 PM
(1) Florida State
San Diego St 9/6/14 7:00 PM
(23) North Carolina
Virginia Tech 9/6/14 7:00 PM
(5) Ohio State
Memphis 9/6/14 9:00 PM
(7) UCLA
Colorado State 9/6/14 9:15 PM
Boise State
Air Force 9/6/14 9:15 PM
Wyoming
Oregon State 9/6/14 9:30 PM
Hawaii
Texas Tech 9/6/14 10:00 PM
Texas-El Paso
Colorado 0 FINAL
Seattle 1
New England 3 FINAL
Toronto FC 0
Columbus 0 FINAL
Montreal 2
FC Dallas 0 FINAL
Chicago 1
Real Salt Lake 1 FINAL
San Jose 1
Portland 3 FINAL
Vancouver FC 0
Ottawa 10 FINAL
Montreal 20
Winnipeg 3:00 PM
Saskatchewan
Chicago 70 FINAL
Indiana 77
Connect with twitterConnect with facebookConnect with Google+Connect with PinterestConnect with PinterestConnect with RssfeedConnect with email newsletters

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

question of the day

Poll: How many games will the Timberwolves win this season?

Weekly Question

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

 
Close