NBA coaches made the right choice by leaving Kevin Love off of the Eastern Conference all-star team. The ‘snub’ of Love came much to the dismay of coach Tyronn Lue.
“I just thought, in this league it’s always been about winning and winning has always been rewarded,” Lue said before Friday’s game against the Pistons. While his premise is right, the all-star game is different. Undoubtedly a popularity contest, there is some weight placed on how good your team is. For the most part, however, most of the weight is placed on how well of an individual season that player is having; Anthony Davis is having a good season and the Pelicans are 17-28.
With averages of 16 points & 10.6 rebounds per game, Kevin Love is one of nine players to be averaging a double-double this season. Of those nine — D. Cousins, A. Davis, Z. Pachulia, H. Whiteside, A. Drummond, P. Gasol, D. Howard, D. Jordan, K. Love — Cousins and Davis are the only two that aren’t on a team with a winning record. The other seven had only one all-star selected, Drummond as a reserve.
While Love puts up decent numbers, the style that he plays isn’t eye-catching like a lot of other superstars. Since coming to Cleveland, he’s been relegated to a catch and shoot jump shooter. Through 45 games, Love has attempted 271 shots from 20+, and almost 86% of his shots come off one dribble or less. When the Cavs can get Love the ball in the paint, either an entry pass into the post or off the pick & roll, he isn’t finishing at the rate that we’re used to seeing. On shots inside the restricted area this season, Love’s converting 53% of them. His percentage this season is six percentage points below his career average of 59%, and down from 61% last year.
The three guys who average a double-double and made the all-star team all shoot better than 60% inside three feet:
- Anthony Davis FG% 0-3 ft. – 70.2%
- Andre Drummond FG% 0-3ft. – 62.0%
- DeMarcus Cousins FG% 0-3ft. – 60.8%
We know Kevin Love can play at an all-star level, but I’m not sure he’ll return to that level until he feels comfortable in Cleveland. While Love’s having a good season, other guys are having even better seasons and still got snubbed. Dirk Nowitzki & Pau Gasol are playing marvelously and still weren’t good enough. It’s a testament to the league and a display of how much great talent the NBA has.
*Photo Credit: Carlos Osorio / AP Photo*
*Data courtesy of Basketball-Reference*