A skilled passer and ball handler, Kevin Love is going to have a tough time defending quicker power forwards.
No team has more trouble closing out opponents than the Timberwolves, who lost a league-high 16 games in which they led or were tied after the third quarter. Their 13 such losses in 2006-07 also led the league.
Record: 22-60 (T-13th in West) Points scored: 95.6 (26th in NBA) Points allowed: 102.4 (21st)
This scrappy team is no longer hurting in the half-court, thanks to a Brand-name signing
Over the last four seasons the Timberwolves have been both bad andboring. True, there was a low-grade drama in Kevin Garnett's finalseasons -- Would he go off on management? Would he be traded? -- but there wasn't muchcause for howling in Minnesota.
Things are different now. This isn't to say that the T-Wolves will suddenlyjoin the conference elite, but they officially lost that must-not-see tag whenthey acquired Kevin Love from the Grizzlies in a blockbuster draft-night tradefor O.J. Mayo.
Love commands attention. The high-profile college: UCLA, which he led to theNCAA finals last April. The high-profile lineage: His father, Stan, played inthe NBA for four years in the 1970s; his aunt, Kathleen McCartney Hearst, wonthe 1982 Ironman; and his uncle Mike is one of the original Beach Boys. And themassive profile: He looks roly-poly at 6-foot-10 and 270 pounds, but he's anoutstanding athlete.
Predictably, Love hasn't exactly disappeared into the North Countrylandscape. He accidentally popped Mark Madsen in the mouth in a scrimmage,forcing Mad Dog to get a root canal and 12 stitches in his chin. Love toldreporters that he was interviewing chefs to prepare him meals that will keep hisweight down but he "can't be eating cardboard every day." And he revealed a fewmodest goals -- to earn All-Rookie honors or "maybe even Rookie of the Year."
What pleases the T-Wolves the most, though, is that in the preseason heplayed like a Rookie of the Year, with averages of 8.3 points on51.2 percent shooting and 5.5 rebounds. And remember: He only has to be the second-best Kevin in thehistory of the franchise. -- Jack McCallum
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