Sunday, March 13, 2011

Some Love for Kevin Love

So, by now our savviest NBA readers know that Kevin Love recently broke Moses Malone’s record for the most consecutive double-doubles since the NBA-ABA merger.  Malone’s mark was 51 between 1978 and 1979; Love is currently at 53 double-doubles and counting.  Just the fact that Love broke any record held by Malone (see left) in his third professional season shows the type of player he has become.  Not only has he become the model of consistency, but he has also barely even flirted with missing the double-double mark.  Only once during the streak did Love score only 10 points, and only three times he managed only 10 rebounds.  Other than that, though, Love has been dominant.  He has achieved nine 20-20 games since the streak began on November 22nd, and he even managed a 31 point, 31 rebound performance against the Knicks.  (Admittedly, this game came before the streak began, but that doesn’t make it any less remarkable).  As much praise as Kevin Love has received from the basketball punditry, few have assessed how his season has stacked up to other seasons by some of the NBA’s most prolific big men.  After all, the time since Moses Malone’s streak has seen the likes of Hakeem Olajuwon, Patrick Ewing, Shaquille O’Neal, Charles Barkley, Karl Malone, Kevin Garnett, Dennis Rodman, Tim Duncan and Dwight Howard.  However, none of them have had a season like Kevin Love is having now. Keep reading to find out why.

First, it’s important to remember that none of the luminaries listed above have had a streak as long as Love’s current one.  Karl Malone is the all-time leader with 779 double-doubles in his career, for an average of 41 per season.  In comparison, Love’s current streak is already 53 and he has a total 62 double-doubles in his 67 games this season.  Any look at Love’s rebounding numbers also proves just how dominant he’s been.  To date, Kevin Love is averaging 15.2 rebounds per game.  The last player to accumulate such a lofty total for an entire season was Dennis Rodman, who averaged as much as 18.7 rebounds/game in a season (back with Detroit in 1991-92).  However, in no season when he averaged more than 15.8 rebounds/game did Rodman even average 10 points per game.  By contrast, Love is complementing his astounding rebounding total with a 20.9 ppg average – well more than double what Rodman ever averaged during his high-rebounding years.  In fact, the last player to post averages of at least 20.9 points and 15.8 rebounds per game for an entire season Kareem Abdul-Jabbar in 1975-1976, the last season before the merger.  Therefore, Kevin Love is currently having as dominant a season as any big-man since the NBA-ABA merger, with his closest rivals being a guy with green hair (Rodman, see right) and a guy whose record he just broke (Malone).  And if that isn’t reason enough for Love to smile, I just compared him to Kareem Abdul-Jabbar.

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