Draft 2K8 - Kevin Love
Love was dominant at the Las Vegas Summer League, averaging 18.0 points and a league-high 13.5 boards despite playing only 18 minutes in his fourth game. His passing abilities were obvious from the opening tip, as those watching were privy to an array of outlet and entry passes leading to easy buckets for teammates. His numbers on the glass speak for themselves, though it's interesting to note that 19 of his 54 boards came on the offensive end. He shot 48.2 percent from the field, 75 percent from the line and nearly a block a game. However, the best way to describe Love's game in Vegas is this: He made everyone else better.
Love is arguably the most fundamentally sound player to come out of college in years. His hoops knowledge is beyond compare for a power player, his work ethic is terrific and he averaged a double-double on one of the best teams in the country as a freshman. He is a forceful rebounder, and has a game built around establishing superior position on the low block. He can also extend the floor and hit both from midrange and from the college three. A well-publicized strength of Love’s is his passing - specifically his outlet passing - which frequently led to layups in transition. On the defensive end he is always hustling and getting in passing lanes with his hands up; his biggest strength is the way in which he holds excellent position on opposing big men who try to outmuscle him.
Love's fitness and athleticism were called into question in his first season at UCLA, but he has dropped about 15 pounds subsequent to the Final Four thanks to an intense workout regimen. His game is primarily played under the rim, and he lacks the quickness of many current NBA bigs. As a result, he might have some difficulty stepping out to contest on the perimeter. Love is occasionally forced to fade away in order to shoot over defenders.
Minnesota immediately becomes a better shooting, passing and rebounding team with Love in the lineup. While Love has a bevy of unique skills, it will be interesting to see how he and Al Jefferson co-exist on the defensive end - particularly against a small NBA lineup. Yet there's little question that Love's skills compliment Jefferson offensively, and opponents can be expected to have trouble with the tandem. Guards love playing with Love because he's able to both outlet the ball quickly and expertly, leading to easy buckets at the other end, as well as find his guards around the hoop or perimeter for open shots after drawing defenders.
Love was outstanding in leading the Bruins to their third straight Final Four appearance, though he didn't have his best game against Memphis once they got there. It is likely that without Love, UCLA wouldn't have won its second-round come-from-behind game against Texas A&M, scoring 19 points, including four crucial points down the stretch, hauling down 11 boards and blocking an uncharacteristic seven shots.
Chad Ford's Top 100
"Love's game is old-school with a flair for the spectacular. He's an amazing college player, however, NBA scouts worry that his lack of size and athleticism will limit his ceiling in the pros. He's a likely late lottery to mid first-round pick."
"Love’s post game hasn’t changed very much over the course of the season, as it’s mostly based on establishing dominant position deep in the post by using his freakish strength, and then powering his way to the basket. He uses fakes very well down low to get past larger, more athletic defenders, and shows good touch around the rim and the ability to absorb contact with his massive frame."
"Bruising bigman with a great basketball IQ and feel for the game … Extremely adept on the block. His post skills are at an NBA level right now … Thick legs anchor him to the floor to a degree, especially with regard to foot speed and transition game … Has decent quickness, but lacks great speed in the open floor."
AOL Draft Watch
"Love's a dominant rebounder - #4 in the nation in offensive rebound rate, #4 in the nation in defensive rebound rate. By comparison, 7-footer Greg Oden was #18 and #33 respectively last season. Love's offense has been incredible, with elite marks in shooting percentages, foul drawing and overall efficiency ... while taking up almost 28% of the possessions for the nation's #3 offense."
ESPN.com: 2008-09 NBA Rookie Class Rankings - Top 50
Kevin Love: Not just a brilliant outlet passer; he also makes quick and perfect passes from the pinch post. Al Jefferson will love running high-low action with him. And, yes, Minnesota's athletic wings will dunk more (as long as they race the floor), thanks to Love's uncanny ability to survey the floor and deliver a perfect 30-foot pass. The best rookie center of the summer.
Star Tribune: Love Looks Great, Brewer OK
Granted, it's only July, a time of year when Nikoloz Tskitishvili and Marco Belinelli have looked like certain future NBA stars. New Timberwolves forward Kevin Love, however, has been as impressive as anybody in Vegas with double-double performances every night that have illustrated this point: This is Al Jefferson's team.
Star Tribune: Love Takes Plunge: Contract, Practice
New Timberwolves forward Kevin Love, the fifth player selected in last month's NBA draft, signed his NBA rookie contract and participated in the team's first summer-league practice on Friday in Las Vegas.
USA Today: McHale set to give Love lessons in Minnesota
UCLA forward Kevin Love had predicted before Thursday's NBA draft the Minnesota Timberwolves (picking third) and Memphis Grizzlies (fifth) were the best fits for him. Apparently, he was not alone.
David Aldridge Endorses Trade
TNT's David Aldridge, at Target Center on Friday during Kevin Love's introductory press conference, called Minnesota's eight-player trade "As good a trade as I've seen."
ESPN.com's John Hollinger: Timberwolves Make Out on Mayo - Love Swap
Wait ... did Kevin McHale just make a good trade?
I'm pretty sure he did, when he traded Antoine Walker, Marko Jaric, Greg Buckner and the rights to No. 3 pick O.J. Mayo to Memphis for Mike Miller, Brian Cardinal, Jason Collins and the rights to No. 5 pick Kevin Love.
Kevin Love Press Conference
Kevin Love, the centerpiece of Thursday's blockbuster trade, and members of Minnesota's basketball operations department met with the media Friday afternoon.
Wolves Acquire Love, Miller from Memphis
In an eight-player trade, the Wolves acquired Kevin Love, Mike Miller, Brian Cardinal and Jason Collins from the Memphis Grizzlies for O.J. Mayo, Marko Jaric, Greg Buckner and Antoine Walker.
Memphis Commerical Appeal: Love Impresses at Grizzlies Workout
"The focus, though, was on the big men, and Love asserted himself as an above-average passer, perimeter shooter, post scorer and athlete who has enough lateral quickness to avoid being a defensive liability."
LA Times: UCLA's Kevin Love works to raise his NBA stock
Basketball already is a job for Kevin Love. His schedule before this week proves it.
NY Daily News: Kevin Love will bring home NBA bacon
Stan Love used tough love to teach his son how to play. Some days Kevin would stand out in the rain outside his family's home, shooting jumper after jumper.
ESPN.com: Draft Watch - Love's never looked this good before
"Love is clearly in much better shape than he was at UCLA and it dramatically improves his game. He's more explosive getting off the floor. He moves better laterally. And he isn't sacrificing the trademark strength that made him one of the toughest big men in college basketball."
Soak Up the One-and Done Experience of Love
"It doesn't seem like much, but his hands are always up in perfect pass-catching position when he flashes through the lane. He puts a defender on his hip, seals and scores. He didn't hit any treys Thursday night, but his 3-point stroke is pure. And he threw a nice little over-the-shoulder outlet pass to Russell Westbrook early in the second half. Westbrook missed the layup, but James Keefe (18 points, 12 rebounds off the bench) cleaned up the mess."
Love Separates Bruins From Last Two Final Four Teams
"The question kept getting asked, first to Russell Westbrook and then to Darren Collison and then to Josh Shipp. How is this year's UCLA team different from the previous two, both of which lost in the Final Four? Their answers included comments about leadership and experience and trust - platitudes on top of platitudes - and none of them stated the obvious. The difference? Kevin Love."
Memphis’ Derrick Rose, UCLA’s Kevin Love Fit Right In
"The 19-year-old UCLA freshman center, already Pacific 10 Conference player of the year and first-team All-American, has also become a plain-speaking locker room leader unafraid to criticize veteran teammates for fouling out (Darren Collison) or not passing enough (Josh Shipp). He has even offered Coach Ben Howland advice (more touches, coach, give me more touches)."
"Kevin Love has shown a skill level that is absolutely unheard of amongst big men in the college ranks - knocking down NBA 3-pointers with ease, putting the ball on the floor with either hand, using pump-fakes, spin-moves, jump-stops and creating his own shot with fantastic footwork."
Chad Ford Mock Draft 1.0
No. 9 to Charlotte
Ford's Mock Draft 3.0
No. 5 to Memphis
Ford's Mock Draft 5.0
No. 5 to Memphis
No. 5 to Memphis
No. 5 to Memphis
Reports Compiled By:
- With contributing writers Matt Tiano and Jude Harder