My New Year’s resolution is to be less cynical. Well, not really. But let’s start the New Year – and the new decade – by applauding the oft-criticized Minnesota Timberwolves.
Since trading the face of their franchise in Kevin Garnett a few years ago, little has gone right for the Wolves.
But it’s time to give credit where credit is due: The Wolves made the right play in trading for Kevin Love on Draft Day 2008.
The Wolves, if you remember, drafted guard O.J. Mayo out of USC on that night. But around midnight, then-GM Kevin McHale orchestrated a trade with the Memphis Grizzlies, sending Mayo for the draft rights to Love. A veteran player or two exchanged hands as well.
I realize many disagree with the assessment. The Wolves are in dire need of a scoring guard, and Mayo – who is averaging 17 points per game – can do that. And with Love and fellow big man Al Jefferson, the Wolves’ two best players essentially play the same position.
But anyone who watched Wednesday’s loss to the Utah Jazz could see the promise Love is starting to fulfill. He hit two big 3-pointers in the final minute to cut into Utah’s deficit and came within an assist of a triple-double.
He’s developing a skill set rarely seen in big men. He handles the ball well, his a big-time rebounder and has developed as a shooter.
His 12.7 rebounds per game this season would rank second in the NBA if he’d played enough games. And he’s 12-for-24 from 3-point range. He’s attempted more 3s through 15 games than he did in 81 games all last season. Granted, he won’t shoot at a 50 percent clip all season, but he’s becoming one of the more well-rounded big men in the NBA.
The Wolves could really use a big-time scoring threat at shooting guard. However, players of Love’s caliber are hard to find. As long as he can continue to play on the court with Jefferson and be successful, both big men are sound building blocks for the future.
Plus, I’d like to see Mayo hit this shot: