Ask Denver coach George Karl a question and you'll surely get an honest answer.

So ask him whether a guy playing for a .500 team should be in the discussion to win the league's Most Valuable Player award and he'll tell you.

"I would not vote for that guy," Karl said to a group of reporters, "but I think you guys can rationalize anything."

And, yes, so the case can be made for Timberwolves forward Kevin Love in a conversation that also includes Miami's LeBron James, Oklahoma City's Kevin Durant and the Los Angeles Lakers' Kobe Bryant, and not just by silly sportswriters.

"I think he can certainly be considered," Wolves coach Rick Adelman said, "but I think that generally goes with the better teams and that's probably the way it should be."

That's why no player on a non-playoff team has won the MVP since Kareem Abdul-Jabbar did so with a Lakers team that went 40-42 in the 1975-76 season.

That's why the teams from the past 10 MVPs have averaged better than 60 victories a season.

In this lockout-truncated 66-game season, that translates to a 49-plus-victory season.

"There are a lot of people on the Timberwolves who are playing well and, you know, I'd vote more for Rick Adelman for Coach of the Year than I would for Kevin Love as MVP," said Memphis coach Lionel Hollins, who often prefers to be the contrarian. "Until they go out and start beating the top teams and he's making a difference in that ... I'm not talking about a team they're supposed to beat. I mean beating a Lakers, beating an Oklahoma City, a Miami or Orlando, teams contending for a championship.

"That's when you start talking about somebody for MVP. That's why Derrick Rose was the MVP last year."

One definition of MVP is the player who most helps his team win.

Another asks where that player's team would be without him.

Without Love reaching statistics in March seen in a single month just once -- by Shaquille O'Neal -- in the past 15 years, the Wolves very well rival Charlotte and Washington for worst in the NBA, particularly with both Ricky Rubio and Nikola Pekovic out injured.

"People will say he has to be on a better team," Adelman said. "He's working just as hard. He's leading the league in minutes. Without him, I'm not sure where we'd be."

Nowhere near the playoffs, that's for sure.

"In my mind, he should be considered an MVP candidate," Charlotte coach Paul Silas said. "But in most people's minds, because you don't win and win big, you're not going to be considered for the MVP. I don't see anybody doing more for their club than him."

Love acknowledges he probably needs to get his team in the playoffs before he truly belongs in the discussion.

"I don't really know the answer to that," Love said when asked if he should be considered. "We're in the playoff hunt, but if we were very high in the standings and I was playing like this, maybe so. But I don't know if that's for me to decide."