Love is the flower that you’ve got to let grow.
– John Lennon
My Dearest Kevin,
My Love, you are my sun and stars. I love so many things about you that I don’t even know where to begin. I love your selfless side: you set my heart aflame each time you nail a full-court pass to a teammate. Oh, the memories we’ve shared. I spent some time going through our memories throughout the year, and I wanted to share some of the best ones with you:
and, of course, there’s this beautiful moment:
I could gush forever about those passes. They’re such a turn on: you know just how to get me going. Look at this execution, with pictures provided by Scott Davis from his article Kevin Love Explains the Art of Throwing the Perfect Outlet Pass:
You grab the pass here, cradling it in your nimble, but firm hands. The way you grab that rebound and immediately look for your teammates for easy buckets drives me wild.
I long for your touch.
I mean, your touch with the basketball – your precision and finesse when you do that thing that you do.
Your placement is so on point, your passes so crisp, your vision so perfect. It seems like time slows down when I watch you perfect your art.
It makes my knees weak each time that I, in my memories, relive the times we’ve shared.
You give and give, but it seems like no one appreciates you the way that I do, Kevin. Your whole career, people have questioned your work ethic, your all-star status, the impressive nightly stats you put up on a team that never lived up to your talent
Your ex never treated you right, baby. The Timberwolves didn’t show you the love you deserved and they lost you for it. You didn’t abandon them; they abandoned you:
During the 2009 draft, the immortal David Kahn passed on Curry twice — with the no. 5 and no. 6 overall picks — to take Rubio (knowing he might spend an extra two years in Europe — which he did) and Jonny Flynn (bustaroo). So much for some help.
The following June, Kahn passed on 19-year-old Boogie Cousins for 23-year-old Wes Johnson with 2010’s no. 4 overall pick, then he spent 2011’s no. 2 overall pick on Derrick Williams (who played the same position as Love). Kahn also gave Jefferson to Utah for two non-lottery picks; wasted valuable cap space on Brandon Roy, Martell Webster and Darko Milicic; and sacrificed a future no. 1 to dump Johnson’s contact so he could sign Andrei Kirilenko (who left a year later).
Bill Simmons, Kevin Love: Overrated, Underrated, or Properly Rated?
But you were always so strong – you still are. Why don’t people recognize why you act the way you do? I hate to bring up the past, but do you remember that fat slob, Nikola Pekovich? He was a behemoth of a man and sucked in offensive rebounds like lamb kebabs; but despite that, he’s a pathetic defensive rebounder. No wonder your rebounding averages were so “gaudy” – who else was going to do the dirty work? Kevin Martin?
Pekovic didn’t care about rebounds unless they padded his points averages – he didn’t even care about protecting the paint. What’s worse, he hung you out to dry on the defensive ends: where does a man his size get off averaging a pathetic 0.4 blocks in 25.4 minutes per game? He’s selfish; not like you Kevin.
It ruined your defensive reputation: it’s never been your strength, but it only paled in comparison to your stunning offense, rebounding, and passing skills.
Why doesn’t the world understand our love, Kevin? Why did they think you would run away to the warm sun of Los Angeles or the greener pastures of Boston? For stats? To continue wasting your talents, mired in mediocrity, even after demanding a trade out of Minnesota for that very reason?
You didn’t choose Cleveland for the weather, for fucks sake. JR Smith knows that you certainly didn’t come for the night life. Lets face it: Cleveland sucks. But you could win in Cleveland. You’re a winner, Kevin Love. You always were.
You’ve never gotten the respect you deserve – no wonder you want to prove yourself on the biggest stage, alongside Lebron James, the king himself. You’re so brave, Kevin, like a night in shining armor, traversing into the unknown, seeking the greatest glory in the land, never content with a life of cowardice and comfort. Like a Cavalier riding into battle alongside your liege: King James.
Last year, you sacrificed so much. In your final season in Minnesota, you posted averages of 26.1 points, 12.5 rebounds and 4.4 assists: last year, your stats were 16.4 points, 9.7 rebounds and 2.2 assists. They say that you aren’t living up to Chris Bosh’s legacy, but it’s all lies. He made the same sacrifices you did – how easily they forget that:
His final season in Toronto, he averaged 24 points and 10.8 rebounds; the next year in Miami, he only averaged 18.7 points and 8.3 rebounds. And he could never pass like you, Kevin. Chris Bosh is a special talent, but so are you, my dearest.
Yes, your shooting percentages have been down, but only because you’re expanding your range, trying to help your team by spreading the floor for your fellow stars, LeBron and Kyrie. You’re used to operating in the post; we’ve seen that again this year. You look even better than before:
But last year, with prolific scorers LeBron and Kyrie on the court, you were asked to adapt your game. David Blatt asked you to change, and you did – that’s the type of man you are. You’ve been improving your outside shot since the day you entered the league. You’re dedicated to constantly improving: That’s part of why I love you so.
Naturally, Love’s evolution as a three-point shooter has had a huge effect on these numbers. As a rookie, only 2.8% of his attempts were from long range, compared to 46.1% today. Either way you slice it, maintaining a shot-selection in the 50%-range from within three feet while bombing away from the outside would have been impossible.
Morten Jensen, The Distancing of Kevin Love
Just take a look at your percentages of field goal attempts each year from 0-3 feet:
Accounting for your increased 3 point attempts, we see that your true shooting percentages last year were barely down: the 2013-2014 season, a historically great year for you, (one of the top 5 best performances by a power-forward in NBA history in terms of EFF) your TS% was .591. Last year, that was only down to .562 – essentially the same as your career average of .655, including back when you were recognized as perhaps the best PF in the league.
You’ve come into this season with fire in your eyes, just like I knew you would. You’re doing more with nearly the exact same amount of opportunities: you’re just more confident though, taking the shots you deserve. You may not be the #1 option on the team, but your passion is back. You look like the man I fell in love with all those years ago in the icy north:
So far, Love has flourished, averaging 18.5 points, 10.8 rebounds and 3.5 assists per game while producing 0.271 win shares per 48 minutes, a career-high if he can maintain it for the entire season and higher than any of the three previous years he was selected as an all star.
By today, November 16th, you’re averaging 17.2 points and 12.1 rebounds. And your offense is back with a vengeance:
Perhaps nothing indicates his effect on the team’s offense as well as this: Cleveland scores at a top-five per-possession rate while he’s on the floor, but plummets to the equivalent of a bottom-five unit when he sits down.
This year is going to be a wonderful year for us, Kevin, my Love. I can feel it in my heart. I can feel it in the depths of my very soul.
Love the hair 😉