Caps, Wiggins has yet to play an NBA game or perform at a high level in the NBA. I'd take "known" in this context to mean "proven". Wiggins is the definition of unproven in this context if there was one, and Love is certainly a proven NBA player whether one likes him or not.
I don't get the Kobe and Divac comparison. Divac was a 27 year old 13/9/3/2 player on a team with a 27 year old 14/8/2/3 Elden Campbell, how are you comparing Divac and Kevin Love here though? Seems like a bit of a stretch don't you think?
In our conclusions of Love, what are the facts here outside of "well his team didn't make the playoffs"? Why didn't they make the playoffs? Was it because of his play or in spite or it? What comparable PF would have made the playoffs in his situation? It's weird having to defend the guy, but I mean we have to be accurate and fair in criticism.
Seems like a lot of hyperbole in talking about Love. Is Love a below average floor defender, yes, but his rebounding actually does help the defense a lot. Is Love lost on defensive schemes or rotations? No, actually he's pretty decent in rotating, his biggest problems come in contesting shots everywhere, his hands are down too much and he does not contest shots. He's already bad enough in terms of length and athletic ability at the rim, but too much hands down is a problem for him. Outside of that he's actually not "atrocious" at any other aspect of defense. I know, crazy isn't it.
Is he a "stat padder" on offense? Well what is a stat padder? Are you a stat padder if you perform efficiently and at a high level and your team loses? Well that definition would obviously fail on many levels if we actually applied it generally, so we obviously can't run with that unless it is just a selective definition when we don't like the player. Stat padding can't be putting up numbers and having your TEAM lose unless we want to call a guy like KG a stat padder for most of his career. Being more accurate it should be when your numbers are not positive to winning or in contrast to winning. There's just no factual argument, either from numbers, film, anything that will gives that conclusion about Love. NBA has video of plays, you can go try and scout it: http://stats.nba.com/playerGameLogs.html#PlayerID=201567&pageNo=1&rows PerPage=25 . He is his offense from last season:
, there's a part 2, again, scout it. Love averaged 4.4 APG, Love had a 59.1% TS, Love had a 120 Ortg, Love was 4th in the league in offensive RAPM:
Offensive RAPM 13-14:
1) Lebron James +6.2
2) Manu Ginobili +4.4
3) James Harden +4.3
4) Kevin Love +4.1
5) Chris Paul +4.0
6) Stephen Curry +3.9
7) Kevin Durant +3.5
8) Channing Frye +3.5
9) Damian Lillard +3.2
10) Dirk Nowitzki +2.9
This isn't a rank of "better" offensive player or anything like that. Most people like to just look at stats and think it is just a ranking. What this can do is give us an idea of level of offensive impact after adjusting for teammates and opponents, and also gives us an idea of the ranges these players rank. So all these guys will be considered high level offensive players in terms of impact, a 0.1 or whatever difference means nothing (Blake is in the top 15 btw).
If we look, we can kind of figure out why those players are all in the top (maybe some people won't get Frye, but Frye was a huge reason why Phoenix's offense was so potent because he opened up the paint for Bledsoe and Dragic as a high volume and high efficiency 3PT shooting big man). Their offense last season couldn't work as well based on the skills of their PG's without a big man spacing the floor like that. We can either try and explain away Love being in the top, or acknowledge the obvious that he was and is a high impact offensive player, it's not really hidden, the basic stats say so, the advanced stats say to, the +/- says to, the adjusted +/- says to, watching the games says so
People mention Love not making the playoffs "his whole career", oooohh, big deal right? Well, is it? First of all, his first two seasons he was a complimentary player, so the team not making the playoffs really means little in the evaluation of him as a player right now. Second, he played 18/82 games in 12-13, so if you're going to start criticizing him for not making the playoffs while playing less than 25% of the season, then that's just not reasonable.
So now we're down to three seasons of not making the playoffs that are actually relevant to the "star" level Kevin Love.
10-11: I mean let's just look at the roster. Darko Milicic starting C, Luke Ridnour starting PG, Wesley Johnson starting SG and Michael Beasley starting SF. There's actually nothing Love could have done individually to make that team win more than 23 games or so.
11-12: First ask yourself if that was a playoff roster. If you answer is yes, continue with criticism, if your answer is no, then maybe reconsider. Here were the top 10 minute getters in order outside of Love: Luke Ridnour. Can we just stop at Luke Ridnour getting the second most minutes on a team? Wesley Johnson. Okay, so now we have Ridnour and Johnson as the 2nd and 3rd highest minute getters. 4th, Derick Williams. Honestly there's no point going on.
They won the equivalent of 32 games. You know a team that also had a similar winning percentage? The 10-11 Clippers with out 23/12/4 rookie Blake. Our top minute guys outside of Blake: Eric Gordon, okay, doing well. Ryan Gomes, well at least we know part of the reason, DeAndre Jordan, still good, rookie Bledsoe, he had a lot of offense issues still, Mo Williams + Baron. Definitely shouldn't have made the playoffs, but if that team won 32 games, then what did we expect from Luke Ridnour, Wesley Johnson and rookie Derick Williams?
So the only team Love has had which had any sort of chance of making the playoffs, the 13-14 Timberwolves. So what happened? The general consensus is 1) Late game offense and 2) Late game defense 3) Poor bench production. Let's examine those first two things.
1) There are few teams in the NBA who rely on their big men to create in close game situations. That doesn't mean they won't rely on them to still score, but teams generally look to have a guard or small forward that can score out of isolation or create for others to facilitate those situations. The Timberwolves starting 1-3 was Rubio an awful scorer, Martin who doesn't create, and well, Corey Brewer. The teams best on ball perimeter shot creator was J.J. Barea. That really speaks for itself.
2) If you can't score as well down the stretch, it helps to play high level defense and be able to limit the opponent scoring so much that even your weak offense becomes adequate enough to pull out victories. The Wolves kind of figured out this idea that if you pair up a non-athletic PF who doesn't have length and isn't a defensive anchor with a slow footed offensive big man who is not athletic and is not a rim protector / shot blocker, you could facilitate a high level defense.
We like the FG% given up at the rim. Let's compare Pekovic to the big men next to other non lengthy or just vertically unathletic (Randolph) PF's:
Yes it is nice to have a PF that can be a rim protector, but most of these PF's are giving up 53.5%+ FG at the rim. Pekovic is just way below, look at the drastic difference between him and Bogut, 10% is crazy. Offensively, really I'm not going to get on a PF who doesn't have a competent shot creating perimeter player about late game offense. Defensively Love could help, but that's why a lot of us are always mentioning complimentary players. It isn't always about getting / having the most individually talented players, it is also important to have players who compliment each other, who mask each other's weaknesses, etc. The Wolves roster forgot that part. The team wins a lot more games if they have a defensive C and a shot creating guard off the bench. The were 0-10 in close games after 35 games (17-18), going 5-5 in those games and they would have been 22-13 half way through the season, 52 win pace. Give them only 4-6 even, still 21-14 isn't bad.
I'm not sure I can take all that complete data and say "well Love is an atrocious defender and imply he is this sort of low impact player, just doesn't seem to fit.
Then if you have a smart GM, if I'm trading for Love, why would I keep Waiters? You have three high level scorers in Lebron, Love and Irving, what does Waiters really do for you? You trade him for a C or SG whose main calling card is defense.