Love's 3-Point Shot Evolved, Became Major Part Of His Game
The Wolves have gone through their fair share of ups and downs this year, but one constant has been Kevin Love’s play. Regardless of what position he played—at his traditional power forward or at center in place of Nikola Pekovic at the end of February—Love has continued to thrive. He made his third All-Star team this year and was voted as a starter for the first time, he’s collected franchise records and achieved things league-wide that we hadn’t seen in 10, 20 or even 30 years in some cases.
We’re getting a chance to witness some very special play right now from one of the league’s bright young stars as he transitions into his prime. His latest accomplishment is setting a new franchise record for most 3-point makes in a season. He had four against the Raptors on Sunday night, and in the process he passed Rashad McCants’ franchise mark of 142. He's up to 147 after hitting three 3s against the Bucks on Tuesday.
[Check out how Kevin Love's 3-point shooting evolved over his career and eventually led to him claiming the franchise's single-season 3-point record.]
“It’s cool to be in the Wolves’ history books like that, and hopefully I can get that number up here to help the team and put it out of reach for a few more years,” Love said after shootaround this morning.
Looking back now, Love’s game has been building to this level for some time. Since he made his first All-Star Game back in 2011, he’s continued to reshape his body and his game to the point of remodeling what a typical power forward does on the court.
He’s becoming the poster child for Stretch 4s around the league, and he’s been able to hit shots from deep without actually straying from his own personal strengths and the flow of the offense.
Love said the 3-point shot is something he’s enjoyed developing over the past 3-4 years both here and with Team USA, and it’s afforded him the ability to expand the floor and open up space around the court.
“Just refining my shot, continuing to work on it,” Love said. “Remembering the game is played inside out, so working my way from two feet to 22 feet, 23 feet, 25 feet—whatever it is that I keep backing up a couple feet behind the line and still have a good shooting stroke. It’s just something that I’ve been blessed with and am able to have a pretty good touch from outside. It’s something I’ll continue to work on.
Love attempted just 19 3-pointers as a rookie and made just two. That’s a .105 clip for those keeping track. He upped his total to 35-of-106 as a sophomore, then increased to 211 attempts in his third year and 282 in his fourth—both of those seasons he was an All-Star. After spending most of the 2012-13 season injured, Love bounced back with his most makes, attempts and highest 3-point percentage this year.
During his past two trips to All-Star Weekend, he’s been good enough league-wide to be a contestant in the Foot Locker 3-Point Contest. He won it in 2012.
“Since Day 1 he’s been making shots,” said guard Ricky Rubio on the time he’s spent playing with Love in Minnesota. “He’s been even better, making step-backs, and it’s something unbelievable how a guy like him can do a lot of things, can make shots like he’s making.”
The most impressive part of Love’s game is that when it comes to his skill set offensively, it only continues to evolve. Each year he comes back with something different.
The 3-pointer is an example of that.
“It’s been a great tool for me,” Love said. “Something that we’ve been able to put different wrinkles into the offense. And it’s fun.”
More to come on the pregame blog, so stay tuned.